Hindu Wedding Rituals
In the wide array of diverse religions and sects in India, the Hindu religion is recognized for its vibrant, lively and unique essences. In various religious events or rites of Hindu culture, the Significant Vedic wedding customs hold everyone’s attention.
Including the three universal wedding rituals – Panigrahan, Kanyadaan and Saptapadi, the Hindu weddings convey the deep-rooted lessons of a Married life. Several other fun and bittersweet ritualistic moments intrigue the viewers.
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If you have never gotten a chance to witness the intricately designed wedding traditions of the Hindu religion, this article will provide you with in-depth information about this ancient religious wedding culture.
Let’s begin with the pre-wedding festivities of the Hindu Wedding Ceremony.
1. Matchmaking –
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This ritual initiates the wedding talks in two families of the boy and girl. The parents match the horoscope state of the boy and girl with the help of a Pandit (religious priest). If the matchmaking outcomes favor the requirements of a union, the families of the boy and girl proceed further for the next pre-wedding rituals. The families fix the marriage after having a thorough discussion about the future life of a would-be couple. After consultation with Pandit Ji, the families fix an auspicious timing and date for every important wedding custom.
2. Roka & Tilak ceremony –
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After finalizing the union of two individuals and their respective families, the Roka & Tilak ceremony is hosted by both families at a commonplace. The groom’s family brings a red chunari or veil, gifts, jewelry, sweets, fruits, clothes and other valuable things etc. Similarly, the bride’s family also offers several gifts to the boy after putting a tilak on his forehead. The groom’s side female folks adorn the girl with the red chunari. All the family members congratulate the boy and girl for their union and bless them.
3. Engagement, Godbharai & Variksha –
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Many Hindu families allow the couple to exchange the rings in a roka ceremony but many others organize a separate event for this ritual. In a traditional Hindu family, the engagement ceremony day is full of rituals and celebrations. Usually, three events take place on a single day. First, the main male folks of the bride’s family perform a small puja with the groom under the guidance of a priest. They put a tilak on his forehead and offer gifts, sweets, token money, clothes etc to the groom. This ritual is called Variksha for the groom.
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After this, the females of the groom’s family take part in a small puja with the girl or soon-to-be bride. The females give her all the necessary objects that a married female use like Sarees and Jewelry. Fruits, sweets, dry fruits, token money and several other gifts are also offered to the bride by the groom’s family. This is called the Godbharai ceremony for the bride.
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In the end, the ring exchange ceremony takes place. The finely decked-up couple comes to the stage and exchanges the rings with each other. The family members and relatives shower blessings on them and everyone enjoys a traditional feast at the end.
4. Haldi Ceremony –
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With this ritual, the main wedding-centric functions incept in both families. The females of both homes prepare a paste of turmeric, water and oil for the bride and groom. First, the married and elder women of the families apply this paste on the face, shoulder, knees and feet and hands of the bride and groom. After completion of this ritualistic ceremony, each member of the family applies this paste lovingly on the visible body parts of the bride and groom. This ritual takes one or two days before the wedding day of the couple separately in the bride’s and groom’s homes. It is believed that after the Haldi ceremony, if the bride and groom go out of the home it is inauspicious for them.
5. Mehendi Ceremony –
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Usually a day before D-day this ritual takes place in the bride and groom’s family. All the females surround the bride and apply the heena paste on the palms, hands and feet of the bride with beautiful floral and geometrical designs. These days a professional mehendi artist is invited for adorning the palms of the bride as well as other females of the family.
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A similar ritual takes place in the groom’s home but on a comparatively small scale. One of the girls or female members of the groom’s family draws the simple designs on the palms of the groom. She also receives token money or Shagun after completing her Heena task application on the groom’s palms.
6. Sangeet ritual-
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One of the most joyful and happening rituals of the Hindu wedding ceremony is Sangeet. On the eve of the wedding, the entire family of the bride and groom sing and dance for hours to content their hearts. In a traditional sangeet ceremony, the ladies of the home sing folk wedding songs on the beats of Dholak and Manjira. But nowadays, this traditional way is replaced with loud and peppy Bollywood music and DJ beats. In a destination wedding, both families celebrate this evening together while in a traditional wedding, both families organize it separately. The bride and groom give their special performance on the stage to create a spellbinding moment for the family and guests. Indeed there is no other better way than Sangeet Ceremony to burst the bubble of stress right before D-day.
7. Pehrawni –
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This ritual shows that the maternal families of the mothers of the bride and groom respect their daughters even after their marriage. The maternal uncles of the bride and groom visit their home with several gifts and clothes for all the close family members. He offers these valuable gifts to the family members at her sister’s home. In return, the family arranges a warm welcome for the maternal uncle of the bride and groom. This ritual depicts the deeply rooted love and respect between a brother and sister.
8. Nikaasi and Baraat –
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This ritual is groom centric event that is enjoyed a lot by all the family members of the groom’s side. This occurs on the wedding day in the evening time. The groom’s sister or sister-in-law puts Kajal to ward off the evil energies right before he mounts on a decorated mare. Now the decked-up groom visits a temple with all the female members of his family. Here he pays a small prayer and receives blessings from the deities before visiting the bride’s place. After this, all the male members take part in the groom’s procession which is called Baraat. The Band, Dhol, Lighten Lamps and music enhance the beauty of a Groom’s procession.
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The main wedding rituals according to Hindu Traditions –
9. Milni or Baraat Swagat –
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To show reverence towards the entire groom’s family the bride’s side makes arrangements regarding the grand and warm welcome of them. When the baraat reaches the main wedding venue, they receive garlands, tilak, sweets and water as a welcoming gesture from the bride’s side. After spending a few moments at the resting place, the groom heads towards the stage for further wedding rituals.
10. Bride’s Entry or Vadhu Aagman –
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The bride’s glorifying entry under a floral shade or red chunari stuns everyone at the wedding venue. The captivating music, her spellbinding wedding attire and the companionship of her sisters and friends compel everyone including the groom to gaze at her. Now she moves towards the stage where the groom is waiting for her. The arrival of the bride at the wedding venue is considered an auspicious event and she is considered the embodiment of Goddess Lakshmi. In modern times, now bride includes a small dancing moment to express her feelings and surprise the groom also.
11. Jaimala ceremony –
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Another fun frolic wedding ritual of the Hindu customs takes place at the altar or the main stage when the bride reaches there. They exchange beautifully designed floral garlands with each other. But it is not as simple and easygoing as it is sounding. Usually, the family members of the bride and groom create so many hurdles for the couple when they are trying to put the garland on each other. With lots of fun, love, teasing and blessings the Jaimala ceremony gets concluded. This elegant ritual of the Hindu wedding custom shows the acceptance of the bride and groom for each other.
12. Kanyadaan ritual –
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This ritual comes along with an emotional moment for the bride and her parents. In Sanskrit, the term Kanyadaan signifies the giving away of the daughter to the groom and his family. It also shows the acceptance of the groom by the bride’s parents as their son-in-law. The teary-eyed father of the bride places the right hand of his daughter on the groom’s hand and asks her to love and take care of her whole life. The mother of the bride also takes part in this sacred and significant ritual of Hindu weddings. As we all know that Hindu religion is quite vast and it includes so many castes and sects in it based on regional diversity. Hence everyone follows a unique way of Kanyadaan ritual in the wedding but the essence remains the same always.
13. Vivaah Hawan or Homa –
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In a Hindu wedding, the significance of Agni is not new to anyone and that is why the couple takes part in the Vivah Hawan under the guidance of a Pandit Ji or priest. A square-shaped Kunda is placed at the sacred altar of the wedding mandap and the priest lights up the fire that is considered Agni Devta in the Hindu religion. Now the east-facing couple offers several things (curd, sugar, incense, herbs, milk, petals, grains, coconut) to the Agni Dev and recites holy hymns written in our scriptures after the priest. In the presence of the Agni Dev, the couple exchanges the seven sacred vows of nuptial bonding and promises each other that they will be fulfilled forever. In the end, the priest or pandit ji asks the couple to seek blessings from Agni Dev regarding their married life.
14. Phere, Mangalsutra and Sindoor –
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One more wedding ritual that deepens the importance of fire element in Hindu weddings is Phere. The bride and the groom take seven rounds around the fire or agni dev for strengthening their matrimonial bond in the presence of spiritual powers. After the seventh round or phera, the Hindu wedding is considered concluded and the couple becomes a legal husband and wife. Now the groom ties a sacred Mangalsutra to the neck of his wife and fills Sindoor in her hair partition. In this way, a Hindu wedding comes to an end amidst the Vedic mantras and Hindu religious deities who bless the unbreakable bond of the couple.
15. Juta chupai rasm –
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After so many emotional and sincere moments in the Hindu wedding, now it comes the time for some fun again in the form of the Juta Chupai ritual. The entire girl gang of the bride’s side including her friends, cousins, siblings and bridesmaid steal the wedding shoes of the groom when he is busy performing wedding rituals with the bride. In the end, when he looks for his shoes the bride’s gang asks for some token money in return for the groom’s shoes. After a long fun and cheeky negotiation between both parties, it comes to a final deal. After getting money or gifts the bride’s side returns the wedding shoes of the groom.
Post-wedding rituals in a Hindu wedding ceremony
16. Bidaai / Vidaai –
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In the end, it’s time for the bride to leave the paternal home and head toward her husband’s home for a new beginning. This ritual is also a bittersweet moment for everyone as the emotional bride bids adieu to her loved ones. She throws grains, coins, flower petals and puffed rice towards her back which shows her gratitude towards her family for bringing her up and performing her wedding. The teary-eyed parents of the bride ask the groom’s family to take care of her and wave an emotional goodbye. All the family members give token money or gifts to the bride and groom as their valuable blessings.
17. Dwaar Rokai ritual –
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After the bride’s Vidaai all the rituals take place at the groom’s home now. When the newlywed couple reaches the home, all the sisters of the groom block the path of the couple and ask them to give Shagun first if they want to enter the home. Here the bride and groom both give some cash to the girls of the groom’s family.
18. Griha Pravesh of the bride –
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In Hindu traditions, the new bride is viewed as the embodiment of Devi Lakshmi in the home. Right after the Dwar rokai ritual, the bride is permitted to enter the home. Here she pushes a kalash full of rice and other grains with her right foot. This marks the beginning of the prosperous arrival in her new home. In some homes, her footprints are also kept on a white sheet when she enters the home for the very first time. After her grihapravesh several fun games are organized in the home of the groom’s family to make the new bride comfortable.
19. Mooh Dikhai ritual –
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This is the introduction ceremony of the bride with all the female folks of the groom’s family. The mother-in-law of the bride lifts the veil in the beginning and sees her face and offers a valuable gift to her as Muh Dikhai Shagun. Now all the other female relatives and family members of the groom’s side unveil the bride and give token money or gifts in her hands. These days, families host a grand reception party also for the introduction of the bride with every family member and relative of the groom’s side. You can say this is an updated version of the Muh Dikhai ceremony in the Hindu wedding rituals.
20. Pag Phera or Chauthi –
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After a few days of the wedding, the bride visits her paternal home and stays there for at least three days. Her brothers visit her in-laws’ home and bring her back to the paternal home of the bride. After staying three days in her paternal home, the husband visits the bride’s home for asking her to return. Here he receives a grand welcome from the bride’s family. While leaving the receives blessings and gifts from all the close ones on the bride’s side. This ritual ensures that the daughters of a Hindu family are also welcomed in their home even after their wedding.