A Traditional Hindu Wedding

Hindu Wedding

A Traditional Hindu Wedding Ceremony

I have filmed many Indian weddings in and around Brisbane  Traditional Hindu Wedding ceremonies are the same. Families can live in the same street but the traditional they hold could be very different

Traditional Hindu Wedding Ceremony Part 1

Baarath-Swagatham (Reception) 
The Bride’s family welcomes Groom and his family at the entrance of the wedding hall. Garlands are exchanged among the family members to signify the acceptance of each other and as a sign of hospitality. Bride’s mother performs rituals to ward off evil spirits surrounding Groom. She performs ‘Aarathi’ in front of Groom’s face, applies Sindoor on his forehead and feeds him a piece of sweet. The Groom is then led to the Mantap (altar) by Bride’s parents.

Vara-Pooja and Madhuparka (Welcoming Groom) 
Bride’s parents offer a drink and gifts. They also give him a Janov (Holy-Thread). Both families exchange the Groom’s and Bride’s gifts (ceremonial dress)

Kashi Yatra
Kashi Yatra ritual is a traditional event where the groom pretends to leave for Kashi to gain more knowledge and become a saint instead of entering the Grihastha Ashrama (married life) but is lured back by the bride’s family to get married. Usually, held before the ‘Muhurtham’ this case of conviction leads to a merry chase around the venue while everyone else enjoys a hearty laugh. He’s then brought back to the Mandap, to pick up his new set of vows and stride into his new life ahead. So, how does a groom-to-be declare he’s off on a Kashi Yatra? He begins by packing his essentials according to custom. These include an umbrella (for the heat and rains), coconuts (as a snack on the way), some rice, a walking stick and a
spare Dhoti.

The ‘Kashi Yatra’ stems from the four stages of life as per the laws of Manu, specifically the Brahmacharya Ashram. It relates to how a man contemplates on the wider universe, seeking knowledge and wisdom ahead of his duties for the Grihastha Ashram. The ceremony involves harking back to this custom of a trip to a Guru’s abode during that stage. Kashi was historically a focus for higher education and studies, as well as religious and spiritual understanding. A trip to Kashi is a trip to partake from that wisdom. (Kashi has been a cultural centre of northern India for several thousand years, and is closely associated with the Ganges.

Hindus believe that dying here and getting cremated along the banks of the holy Ganges river allows one to break the cycle of rebirth and attain moksha, making it a major centre for pilgrimage) As he gets a case of pre-wedding jitters, he decides to leave it all behind and run towards eternal bachelorhood before he’s talked into some sense by the bride’s father and uncles. Then comes the declaration, at which point he’s stopped and dissuaded from the thought.

❖ Groom wears yellow dhoti
❖ Turmeric, Kumkum, Akshathe, Bhakshanu, Fruits are kept ready on trays
❖ Mirror, Comb, Soap, Powder, Coconut oil, Kaajal – Karina combs Akhil and shows him the mirror after
‘dishti’ dot
❖ Malabar Towel – rice, turmeric stick, betel nut, betel leaf – make a knot in the towel and tied to Akhil’s right

1. Akhil holds Bhagavad Gita book, walking stick, wears slippers and umbrella by Toby – Akhil heads towards the Swing
2. Ladies follow Akhil with Turmeric, Kumkum, Akshathe, Bhakshanu, Fruits
3. Akhil feet on Brass Plate – Michael pours water on Akhil’s feet and requests to marry my daughter (Yana).
4. Yana gets garlands and joins Akhil – and both exchange garlands (three times), then both are made to seat on the swing.
5. Now the 5-ladies – with 5-types of rice Plain rice, Turmeric rice, Red (Kumkum) rice, Sweet (pongal) rice, and Salt (pongal) rice;
6. Ladies now take ‘drishti’ to ward off evil’s eye in all directions – North, East, South and West.
7. Ladies will then perform Aarathi along with the following;
a. Remainder rice
b. Two lamps in each Vessel
c. Water
d. Water with 2 spoons milk
e. Kumkum water
With this Akhil and Yana are led to the stage – Yogashree holding Yana and Karina holding Akhi

Nischya-Thambula and Vagdaana (Conformation and Commitment by both families)

Parents and elders from Bride’s and Groom’s family seek blessings from their ancestors (Grand-Father & Great-Grand-Father) for a happy and productive married life for their children. They exchange Thambula Pan-Patha and fruits. Both families promise each other that they will accept and treat the newly wedded couple as their own children without any discrimination.

Guru, Ganesh and Navagraha Pooja (Prayer to Gods)

Bride and Groom are given Pavithra by Purohith-ji and they offer prayers to Guru (the Spiritual Teacher) for the blessing of knowledge; to Lord Ganesh (the elephant-headed God) for the blessing of happiness and protection; and to Navagraha (the nine planets) for the blessing of a prosperous married life.

Wedding Day hghlighs


Traditional Hindu Wedding Ceremony Part 2

Kanya Daana (Entrusting Bride to Groom) 
The prayers describe the Groom represents the Hindu God Lord Vishnu (Purusha the protector) and the Bride represents Goddess Laxmi (Prakriti, wife of Lord Vishnu and Goddess of wealth & prosperity). Groom and Bride hold hands and the corner of Bride’s sari is tied to Groom’s scarf signifying the eternal unity of Purusha & Prakriti. Bride’s parents then entrust their daughter’s protection and happiness to Groom by pouring holy Ganga water on to their daughter’s hand that flows down into Groom’s hand.

Bride’s Ceremonial Saree
Groom’s parents gift Yana with the Ceremonial saree Michael and Nidhi goes along with the hall with the Mangulsutra seeking blessings and Nidhi offers ‘Akshathe’ to all guests. Yana now enters with the Ceremonial saree;

Mangala-Sutra Dharana (Wearing Sacred Chain)
The Mangala-Sutra is a chain with 2 pendants, which represent the hearts of Bride and Groom & their united-commitment to a life together. Groom places the Mangala-Sutra around Bride’s neck assisted by several family members, seeking Lord’s blessings for longevity and a happy life.

Bichiya(Toe rings) and Anklets Wearing
Groom presents pairs Bichiya and Anklets to Bride that she puts on to her toes and ankles and keeps wearing them as a sign of her attaining the honourable status of a married woman (Sumangali) in the society.

Pani-Grahana Homa (Sacred Fire Worship) and Mangala Phara (Holy Walk around the Sacred Fire)
The Bride and the Groom perform a Homa during which they place offerings into Agni (the Holy Fire) seeking blessings from the Gods. In an expression of their commitment to sacrifice their individual happiness bfor the sake of each other, they offer Laaja (perched-rice) and walk around the Homa four times.

Saptha-Padi (Seven Steps)
The couple takes seven steps forward together before God, each step representing a vow. May Lord bless us:
1. Noble and respectful life, nurtured by nourishing food
2. Physical and mental health to lead a healthy peaceful life.
3. Spiritual strength to fulfil spiritual obligations.
4. Happiness and harmony through mutual love and trust.
5. Healthy & noble children.
6. Joy and happiness together during all seasons
7. Life of unity, devotion, and companionship. Bride’s brother helps the couple in offering Laja into Hooma & he is appropriately rewarded with a gift.

Shila-Arohana (Expression of Determination)
As the couple walk around Holly Fire at the end of each round, Bride places her right foot over a stone expressing her determination to remain true to her husband and make their married life a happy one.

Agni-Sakshi-Deeksha (Sacred Vows)
Bride and Groom take the following vows in front of Agni (the Holly Fire): “Together we seek Dharma (virtue), Artha (worldly possessions) and Kama (worldly pleasures) following the path of truth and sincerity, which ultimately lead us to Moksha” (the Salvation).

Looking at the Star Arundhati
Arundhati (Alcor) is the wife of the sage Vasista (Mizar). These binary stars are the part of ‘SAPTHARISHI MANDALA’ (Big Dipper). They represent loyalty & devotion to each other as husband & wife. Bride & groom look at the northern sky seeking Arundhati’s blessings for mutual understanding in their lifelong journey as husband & wife.

Shanthi-Jal (Sprinkling of holy water)
The newly wedded couples are sprinkled with holy water by Purohith, wishing them Peace, Prosperity, Happiness, Long Life and Good Health in their married life.

Siksha (Word of Advice) and Aasheervad (Blessing)
The Purohith (or an elderly close family member of the Bride) advises Bride, Groom, their parents, family members and friends about their greater responsibility in keeping the newly wedded couple happy. Newly wedded couple seek blessings from their parents, friends and relatives who shower flower petals over them.

Two or three ladies perform Arathi to the newly wedded couple and their parents to celebrate the union of the families.


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