Mar 7, 2008

A Traditional Hindu Wedding

Most elaborate ceremonies are traditionally conducted at least partially in Sanskrit, the language in which most holy Hindu ceremonies are conducted. They are many rituals that have evolved since traditional times and differ from the modern western wedding ceremony and also among the different regions, families, and castes such as Rajput weddings and Iyer weddings. The Hindus attach a lot of importance to marriages and the ceremonies are very colorful and extend for several days.

In India, where most Hindus live, the laws relating to marriage differ by religion. By the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955 passed by the Union Parliament of India, for all legal purposes, all Hindus of any caste, creed or sect, Sikh, Budhhists and Jains are considered as Hindus for the sake of the Hindu marriage Act — and can hence intermarry. By the Special Marriage Act, 1954, a Hindu can marry a non-Hindu employing any ceremony provided certain legal conditions are fulfilled.

The pre-wedding ceremonies include engagement (involving vagdana or oral agreement and lagna-patra written declaration), and arrival of the groom's party at the bride's residence, often in the form of a formal procession. The post-wedding ceremonies involve welcoming the bride to her new home.

Just as Hinduism is hard to grasp and contrast against the newer, book-defined, structured religions such as Christianity and Islam, India's prevalent wedding traditions are also hard to categorize purely on a religious basis. They have a closer similarity to ancient cultures such as Greek, roman, Egyptian and Chinese.

An important thing to note is that despite the fact that the modern Hinduism is largely based on the puja form of the worship of devas as enshrined in the Puranas, a Hindu wedding ceremony at its core is essentially a Vedic yaj├▒a (a fire-sacrifice), in which the Aryan deities are invoked in the Indo-Aryan style. It has a deep origin in the ancient ceremony of cementing the bonds of friendship/alliance (even among people of the same sex or people of different species in mythological contexts), although today, it only survives in the context of weddings. The primary witness of a Hindu marriage is the fire-deity (or the Sacred Fire) Agni, and by law and tradition, no Hindu marriage is deemed complete unless in the presence of the Sacred Fire, seven encirclements have been made around it by the bride and the groom together.

More Wedding Traditions

1 comment:

AM I A HINDU? Best Seller said...

Amazing it may sound, Hindu Marriage called VIVAHA is still performed according to Vedic rites [at least 5000 years old] described in the Sam Veda and the Yadur Veda.

Hindu marriage is a sacrament (Sanskara), a rite enabling two individuals to start their journey in life together.

The Hindu wedding lays emphasis on three essential values: happiness, harmony, and growth.