Introduction  

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What is Marriage?

Marriage is a socially approved union that unites two or more individuals as spouses. This union is that there’ll be sexual relations, procreation, and permanence within the relationship. Marriage is a socially approved arrangement between males and females that involves an economic and sexual relationship. Children born to married couples are said to be ” legitimate”, whereas those born to an unmarried woman are often labeled “illegitimate”.

Marriage is regarded as a fundamental social institution in every society. Marriage encompasses two major aspects in each society and each time. Firstly it has assented relationship of two opposite sexes and secondly a socially approved institution where these two sexes have legal approval to have a sexual relationship and produce children. The procurement and socialization of children are closely associated with this institution.

It is an institution of society that can have very different implications in different cultures. Its purposes, functions, and forms may differ from society to society, but it is present everywhere as an institution. According to Hindu scripts, marriage is taken as a religious tradition and not as a contract according to this, men and women become perfect only after marriage. Marriage is an important institution for their personality development and the continuation of society.

The international encyclopedia of social sciences has defined it in this way: ” Marriage may be defined as a cultural approved relationship of one man and one woman (monogamy), of one woman or two or more men (polyandry) or one man and two or more women (polygyny) in which there is a cultural endorsement of sexual intercourse between the marital partners of the opposite sex and generally the expectation of children will be born of the relationship.”

Marriage, a lifetime journey 
Definitions:

Following are some important definitions of marriage:
  • Malinowski says that marriage is a “contract for production and maintenance of children.”
  • According to Westermarck, “it is a relation of one or more men with one or more women recognized by the law and custom having some rights and duties in case of having children.”
  • Horton and Hunt say, “It is a social system us hereby two or more than two persons establish a family.”
  • Mr. Muhammad Niaz, ‘It is a union of husband and wife approved by the following four agencies i.e. religion, society, morality, law.”
  • In simple words, marriage is an institution that ties husband and wife to fulfill their desired needs like sex satisfaction bringing children, and fulfilling the social and psychological needs of both males and females.

Characteristics or Features of Marriage:

It is a social and legal contract between two opposite sexes where they establish a family for the satisfaction of the physical, biological, social, psychological, and spiritual needs of males and females. It leads to the formation of a family and the procreation of children. Sexual relationships and the production of children are the basic aims of marriage.

It is characterized by the following characteristics;

  • Universality:  

Marriage is more or less a universal institution i.e. it is prevalent everywhere among literate, illiterate, everywhere territorial as well as hunter-gatherers. E.g. in Japan celibacy is publicly condemned; in Korea, unmarried persons are called ‘Half persons’. Among Hindus, marriage is a sacred phenomenon that every Hindu member should do.
Relationship between man and woman: It is the union of man and woman- which indicates the relationship between one or more men to one or more women that occurs under the different patterns of marriage.
  • An Enduring Bond: 
    It is the long-lasting bond between husband and wife. It excludes those sexual relationships with prostitutes who are not sanctioned by custom or law or religion.

  • It requires social Approval:
    Marriage between man and woman becomes a nuptial bond only when it is approved by society. Social approval is the ultimate way to get legal recognition.

  • It Is Associated With Some Civil Or Religious Ceremonies:
    Among every socio-cultural and religious group, marriage gets its social recognition through some ceremonies. It suggests that marriage has to be concluded in a public and solemn matter.

  • It creates Mutual Obligation:
    It imposes certain rights on both husband and wife.


Functions 


Its functions are:

It regulates sexual behavior: It helps cultural groups to have a measure of control over population growth providing proscribed rules about when it is appropriate to have children. Regulating sexual behavior helps to reduce sexual competition and the negative effects associated with sexual competition.

Procreation of children: It is the legitimate way for reproduction and therefore the birth of children.

It fulfills the basic needs of marriage partners: It provides the framework within which people’s needs are met: shelter, food, clothing, safety, etc. Through the institution of marriage, people know for whom they are economically and socially responsible.

It perpetuates kinship/lineage groups: This is related to the previous function, but instead of simply knowing who is with whom economically and socially, marriage in a legitimate sense lets people know about inheritance.

It provides an institution for the care and enculturation of children: Within the umbrella of the marriage, children begin to learn their gender roles and other cultural norms. It lets everyone know who is responsible for children. It legitimizes children by socially establishing their birthright.

Security for women and children: It is a marriage that brings husband and wife together, where the women and children get security.

Types of Marriage 


The types of marriage are commonly divided as follows:

  • Monogamy
  • Polygamy
  • Endogamy
  • Exogamy
  • Group Marriage

Monogamy 

It is a form of marriage in which one man marries one woman. It is the most widespread and civilized form of marriage. Aristotle has only recommended monogamous marriage.
A believer of monogamy essentially expects his/her, partner, to love him/her and cooperate with him/her to make a life. He/she also expects that to be the only one that his/her partner has kids. This in turn implies that the partner should not be sexually involved with anyone outside the relationship.

Types of Monogamy:

It is also of two types as follows;
  • Straight Monogamy: This is the type of marriage in which straight monogamy man and woman can not marry again in case of divorce or case of spouse death.
  • Serial Monogamy: In serial monogamy man and woman can marry another person in case of divorce and death of a spouse.

Advantages of monogamy:

  • Universally Practicable: Monogamy gives a one-to-one ratio so can provide marital opportunity and satisfaction to all individuals. This form of marriage is universally practicable in different countries.
  • Economically better suited: No man having ordinary income can think of practicing polyandry as he has a very low income. So, monogamy can adjust itself to poverty. E.g. Even though Koran permits a Muslim to have four wives at a time but no ordinary Muslim can think of marrying four wives. 
  • Promotes better Understanding between Husband and Wife: Monogamy produces the highest type of love and satisfaction between husband and wife. It contributes to family peace, solidarity, and happiness. E.g. Vatsayana an authority on “Kama Sutra” remarked, “At best a man can only please one woman physically, mentally and spiritually. Therefore, a man who enters into marriage relations with more than one woman, voluntarily courts unhappiness and misery”.
  • Contributes to Stable family and sex life: Monogamy is more stable and long-lasting and is free from conflicts that are commonly found in polyandrous and polygynous families. It does not give opportunities for having extra-marital sex relationships because sex relations are more strictly prohibited.
  • Helps to better Socialization: Since husbands and wives have a better understanding, they can give greater attention to the socialization of their children. Children are well looked after and the parents can give special attention to them.

Polygamy 

A polygamy is a form of marriage in which one man or woman marries two or more women or men. It is a less common form of marriage.

Types of Polygamy: 
It’s also of two types as follows; polygyny and polyandry,

  • Polygyny: 
    Polygyny is the form of marriage in which one man marries more than one woman at a given time. This type of marriage was mostly practiced in ancient civilizations. Still, in some societies like Korea, Muslims can have four wives at a time if they want. This type of marriage is practiced in Nagas of India, Crow Indians, Eskimo tribes, Hidasta of North America, etc.
    Types of Polygyny: 
    • Sororal Polygyny: Sororal is a type of polygyny form of marriage in which one man marries two or more wives who are related as sisters.
    • Non-Sororal Polygyny: Non-Sororal is a type of polygyny form of marriage in which one man marries two or more wives who are not related as sisters.
Causes of Practicing Polygyny: 
The practice of polygyny becomes common in a society where there are more women as compared to men which creates an imbalance in the sex ratio.
People practice polygyny for economic benefit. In some of the African Tribes like Longas and Thongas people practice polygyny thinking that women can contribute to family income.
Many people practice polygyny marriage to enjoy a sex life with multiple wives because sex relation with a woman during her menstrual, pregnancy, and lactation periods is taboo in many societies.
Many people practice polygyny because of the childlessness of the first wife.

Disadvantages of Polygyny: 

Having more wives leads to more no. children which increases the economic burden on the head of the family as he has to support the family.
In polygyny, children cannot be looked after because too many of them are to be looked after.
In polygyny, there occurs jealousy among the wives and their children leading to conflict in the family and the conflict destroys family happiness.
In these types of marriages, the women possess a lower position in the family as there are more no. women.

Polyandry 

When one woman is married to more than one man is called polyandry. This type of marriage still exists in some African and Indian tribes.

Types of Polyandry:
Polyandry is further divided into two types;

  1. Fraternal Polyandry: When brothers take one woman as a wife is called fraternal polyandry. This type of marriage is still practiced by the tribe of India namely the Todas tribe.
  2. Non-Fraternal Polyandry: In non-fraternal polyandry husbands of women are not related to one another. It’s up to the woman, whichever husband she chose to live with. 

Endogamy (also called inter-marriage) 

Endogamy is a form of marriage when one marries someone from inside one’s immediate social group i.e. marriage within one’s tribe, caste, or kin group. Endogamy is common among aristocracies, religious groups, ethnic groups, and social classes. Endogamy based on caste exists in Nepal and India.

Exogamy (also called out-marriage) 

An exogamy is a form of marriage when one marries someone from outside one’s immediate social group i.e. marriage outside of one’s tribe, caste or kin group.
Anthropologists assert that exogamy is done in areas in which cooperation between differing tribes is necessary for survival. For instance, if one tribe only hunts, and another tribe only plants, the best way for them to ensure sharing is to marry off members of the society to one another.
An excellent example of exogamy is the Rani Khera village of India, in which women from far and near villages travel to Rani Khera to marry its men. Kung tribesman of Africa travels at least 40 miles to find a wife. Note: The word comes from the Greek, from Exo + gamos which means “outside marriage’.

Group Marriage

In group marriage, a group of women marries a group of men. All of them have common wives and husbands.


THE DELIGHTFUL DETAILS OF A HINDU WEDDING 

When it comes to getting married, what couple genuinely wants their special day to end? There is no doubt that those who participate in a traditional Hindu wedding don’t! These elaborate, bright, and tradition-packed celebrations tend to go on for several days before the actual wedding ceremony even begins. While Indian culture tends to practice several different religions, including Catholicism, Buddhism, Islam, and much more, the religion that seems to shine brightest on the wedding scene is Hinduism. It’s not hard to see why. The myriad of traditional and elegant ceremonies that make up a Hindu wedding not only brings the families of the bride and groom closer together but also ensures that no one leaves the festivities without having a good time. Thanks to the fact that many variations of Hindu traditions have been blended into the Indian culture, even those who do not practice Hinduism will take the opportunity to borrow some of the ceremonies and incorporate them into their special day.

A few examples of these must-have ceremonies that can be seen before the wedding include the Haldi - which is a purification of the couple with a paste made of Turmeric powder, and the Mehndi - which means the time when the bride is decorated with intricate and beautiful Henna designs and the Sangeet - which is a celebration that takes place about a day before the wedding. This is when family and friends come together to dance and eat delicious food in an exciting pre-wedding celebration. While each one of the mentioned events is wonderful on their own, together they lead up to the most important day - the wedding day, where a beautiful celebration of the joined couple can commence. On this day, breathtaking moments of culture, religion, and unity make up the perfect event to kick off a bride and groom’s new life together.

Now, let’s dive into all of the separate events that make up a Hindu wedding day.

BRIDE AND GROOM PREPARATION 

Just like many traditional weddings around the world, Hindu wedding couples tend to prepare for their special day separately. However, this prep time can vary in the fact that it may take closer to 3-4 hours for everyone to get ready as opposed to just one or two. This could have something to do with the fact that, truthfully, the preparation for the bride begins a couple of days before the wedding with Mehndi, which is when she and all her female friends and family members gather together in the bride’s home to apply intricate Henna. Once the actual wedding day arrives, outfits, makeup, and hair will be done like most weddings. However, the details are very important, so every little thing will take time to make perfect!

Indian bride dress

Indian wedding jewelry

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Unlike traditional American weddings where the bride wears white and the groom is decked out in a tuxedo, Hindu couples are usually covered in colorful fabrics and gold jewelry. It is not out of the ordinary for the bride to have multiple dresses for all of the different ceremonies, however for the wedding itself, the traditional color is either red or pink. Dressed in a long skirt with a matching top and scarf, the bride’s attire is called a Lehenga and she will typically have a beautiful headpiece to match. The groom will wear a Kafni, a long shirt that extends past the knees, and some Pijamo leggings. To tie the look together, some grooms may also wear an elaborate and beautiful turban to complete the outfit.

Indian wedding dress 

Photo by Naveen Kumar on Unsplash

The Beauty Is In The Details (Ceremony Site)

There is no doubt that weddings are all about the details when it comes to making the bride and groom’s day special. Hindu weddings are no exception and the wedding site is typically, decked out from floor to rafters with elaborate decorations. The decor is usually comprised of floral designs, ornate furniture, statues of beloved deities, candles, chandeliers, bright fabrics, and much more! While the idea is to make the entire wedding location elaborate, there is one area in particular where much of the focus and attention will go.

The main centerpiece of the wedding ceremony is known as the mandap (or altar) and it is where the couple will perform the wedding nuptials. This location is where much of the decorations will reside as it is the primary setting for everything that will take place during the ceremony. Because there are so many details in a Hindu wedding, many couples will opt to have a photographer duo to capture as much of their day as possible; one to focus on the main ceremony itself, and the other to focus on photographing all of the little details that go into the decor and set up. Without this extra help, one photographer would most likely miss a lot of important moments and cherished features of the wedding.

Where It All Happens (The Mandap)

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Let’s spend a little bit more time on the importance of the altar, or Mandap, of a Hindu wedding. As mentioned before, this location is the centerpiece for the wedding decor and serves as the stage for where the ceremony and all the Indian wedding rituals will take place. In Hindi, the word mandap translates to “a covered structure with pillars” and while it sounds simple, the structure is far from it. Because of the religious offerings and rituals that are performed by the priests on this structure, no shoes are allowed onto the Mandap at any time during the ceremony.

Each of the four pillars holding up the Mandap represents the four parents who worked hard to raise their children into the best people possible. Raised onto a platform, the Mandap allows every guest a clear view of the couple from the comfort of their seats and almost adds an even more reverent feeling to the ceremony. The couple is elevated and on “Cloud 9” as they join their lives to one another through several different traditions that have been cherished for centuries. Beautiful flowers surround the pillars, and garlands of mango and banana leaves add a wild feel to the indoors. Pots of water catch the light and statues of deities (one of which is usually Ganesh, the Elephant god of beginnings, good fortune, and the remover of obstacles) make the ceremony site breathtaking. As well, a sacred fire is located on the Mandap so that the priest and couple can provide religious offerings to the flames throughout the ceremony. Without a doubt, the Mandap is an integral piece to the overall success and beauty of a Hindu wedding.

The First Look 

Although this tradition is seen more often in American weddings, some Indian couples may opt for having the first-look meeting. These opportunities allow for a very personal and intimate moment between the bride and groom before the flurry of wedding activities ensues. In a moment of silence and bliss, a couple can take each other in and photographers have a chance to capture tears and sweet kisses away from everything else.

Although some couples may want to save their first time seeing each other for their meeting at the altar, a first look can bring out some of the most emotional moments of the entire day. It also creates the perfect time to fit in a small couple’s photo shoot before the ceremony if time allows, providing the bride and groom an opportunity to be fresh and at their very best for these photos. Additionally, capturing these important shots during a first look allows for more time to photograph the family before the reception without them having to feel rushed. Once the first look has taken place, everyone can move into their places to get the big day officially started!

Here Comes The Groom (All About The Baraat)

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To kick the festivities off in a Hindu and Sikh wedding, the groom will be led to the wedding venue with a processional and usually atop a regal steed. Typically, the animal used will be a white horse and is known as a ghodi. A few other options that have been utilized in the past are camels, impressive vehicles, or a rickshaw. Besides the transportation, the Baraat is made up of family members, groomsmen, and friends (also called baraatis). The entire pace of the wedding day is set up by this activity alone, based on the music used and the upbeat tempo that the party is moving too.

As can be imagined, the excitement and anticipation is high during this time while the much-anticipated day finally begins. Perhaps the biggest question that many have in regards to the Baraat has to do with the bride. Where is she during this ceremony? More often than not, she is secretly watching from afar! She cannot participate because traditionally the Baraat is a ceremony specifically designed to welcome the groom and his family to the wedding location.

A Coming Together (The Milni) 

There is a Punjabi tradition that has been adopted by Hindu weddings known as the Milni. Composed of the Hindu word “milan”, this ceremony name was derived from a Sanskrit expression that means “a coming together”. In this ceremony, which takes place before the Baraat, the two fathers from each respective family come to meet as a show of union between their houses. As part of this bonding tradition, the male family members (particularly the fathers) will exchange garlands, and may even attempt to lift each other as a fun little challenge to see who can accomplish the feat first!

Once the Milni is finished and the groom has made his way through the Baraat procession, the groom will be greeted by the bride’s family and friends. At that time, the bride’s mother will offer her soon-to-be son-in-law sweets while applying a mark on his forehead known as the tilaka, which is the first action in performing the ceremony of light (called the Arti). When this ritual is complete, the groom will be escorted to the Mandap to await his beautiful bride.

Let Nothing Come Between Us (Ganesha Puja Ceremony)

Now that the groom has reached the Mandap, it will be time for the priest to invoke the blessing of Lord Ganesh before the wedding rituals begin. This puja, or ceremony, is important for a Hindu wedding, as it is performed to bestow good luck upon the couple and their families, to ward off any obstacles or hindrances that may get in their way as the couple sets out on their new life together. Interestingly enough, while no Hindu wedding would be complete without the Ganesh Puja, many auspicious ceremonies in the Hindu religion will not commence without a prayer to Lord Ganesh. There is no doubt that this particular god is extremely important to the culture surrounding this huge life-changing event.

Here Comes The Bride (Kanya Aagaman

The wedding site has been blessed, everyone is waiting breathlessly, and now, it is time for the bride herself to arrive. Although some brides may choose to meet their groom before the wedding begins for that first look event, most of the time, this ceremony is the bride’s first appearance to anyone but her female family. Once the bride reaches the Mandap, it is time for the official wedding ceremony to begin. The bride is usually escorted to the structure by her maternal aunt and uncle, which signifies the acceptance of the union from the maternal side of the family. Additionally, the bride may be escorted in by her sisters, cousins, and friends, depending on which part of India the bride’s family is from. Not only is such a tradition a wonderful way to get family further involved in the union of the couple, but having family involved also shows their support and love for the bride as she makes the journey to her groom.

Hindu wedding ceremony steps 

THE REVEAL (MUHURTHAM) 

Finally, the bride has reached the Mandap and the ceremony can commence, right? Not quite! There are still a couple of rituals set in place that aid in making this joining of bride and groom all the more special. During the Muhurtham, the couple will see each other officially for the first time -regardless of whether they did a first look or not.

Where the groom sits on the Mandap separates him from where the bride is located by a bright and beautiful cloth, known as an antarpat. The use of this auspicious cloth is to symbolize the bride and groom’s individual lives before their marriage. At the time of her arrival, the bride will not be able to look into her groom’s eyes until she has been seated next to him and the ceremony has concluded. During the designated moment, the antarpat will be lowered and the symbolism of the couple’s coming together will begin.

MARRIAGE BRINGS US TOGETHER (VARMALA OR JAIMALA CEREMONY) 

Now that the cloth has been removed, the bride and groom can stare lovingly at one another, signaling that the commencement of their wedding can proceed as planned. To further understand what this particular ceremony is all about, we must break down the name Varmala, with marla meaning “garland” in Hindi. Presenting each other with beautiful flower garlands, the exchange between bride and groom will represent the acceptance and union of their ceremony. Traditionally, the bride is the first one to present her garland to her partner, followed by the groom’s offering of his garland. Once both garlands have been exchanged, the couple can then take their seats on the Mandap beside each other.

PARENTAL BLESSINGS RECEIVED (KANYADAAN)

Perhaps the most difficult part for any parent during their daughter’s wedding is the moment when they are to give the bride away to her new husband. This is a common tradition in most weddings, but for a Hindu wedding, it is a bit more involved. At the time of the Kanyadaan (meaning “giving away the bride” in Sanskrit), the bride’s parents will approach the couple, each with their tasks to perform.

The bride’s father will take her hand and place it in the right hand of her groom, thus signifying the father’s acceptance of the groom and his care for the bride. While their hands are still joined, the mother of the bride will pour sacred water over the palm of her husband, allowing it to fall through his fingers and onto the joined hands of the bride and groom.

LIGHT THE FIRE IN MY HEART (VIVAAH HOMA)

Once the Kanyadaan has come to a close, the sacred fire will be lit; signifying the start of the Vivaah Homa ceremony. This particular section of the wedding is designated to be a purification moment for all of the upcoming ceremonies that follow. The priest will contain this fire in a copper bowl known as a kind and use it throughout the remainder of the wedding ceremony.

FAMILY BLESSINGS  RECEIVED ( LAAJA HOMAM)

Translated from Sanskrit origins, the Laaja Homam means “the offering of puffed rice to the sacred fire.” Taking place towards the mid-end of the wedding nuptials, this ritual is a way for the families of the bride and groom to offer their blessing on the union. Everyone will participate. However, the bride herself is not allowed to offer the rice with her bare hands to the fire. Because of this, she will be helped through this ceremony by her closest male relative or brother if she has one. The groom will place his hand beneath the bride’s as her brother (or another male relative) pours the rice through her fingers. A portion of the blessing will be shared with her groom as the rice makes its way into the sacred fire. Finally, the couple will circle the fire three times together, all the while feeding the fire with rice.

TIE THE KNOT ( MANGAL PHERA ) 

Depending on what region of India the couple is from, or what branch of Hinduism they practice, the bride and groom will continue to circle the fire anywhere between four and seven times. The groom leads the first circle while the bride leads the final circle. Although this may seem like a drawn-out ritual, each circling of the fire has immense significant meaning for a Hindu wedding. For example, during a Gujarati Mangal Phera, the four circles are directly related to dharma (virtue), artha (wealth), kama (family), and moksha (enlightenment). When the last circle is finally made, the couple will rush back to their seats to see who will get there first. Traditionally, the one who makes it back to their seat first will be the head of the household!

To wrap up this ceremony, the couple will go through an actual “tying the knot” ritual where the bride and groom will be connected with a scarf, called the dupatta. Typically, the bride’s dupatta, which is worn on her head, will be tied to the groom’s dupatta, which is worn over his shoulder. They are now not only connected physically but through their fate as well.

A NECKLACE FOR THE BRIDE (MANGALSUTRA)

Before the ring exchange, the groom performs an extra ceremony with a special little gift for his beautiful bride. The mangalsutra is a necklace that the groom places around the bride’s neck while he recites Vedic mantras to symbolize that she is now a married woman.

THE RING EXCHANGE

The ring exchange is a time when both parties of the couple can commit to supporting each other through all of life’s challenges and struggles with the promise of a ring to go along with their vows. These commitments of unconditional love through times of happiness and sorrow are similar to what we see in most traditional weddings all over the world.

VOWS FROM THE HEART (SAPTAPADI) 

After the Mangalsutra has been tied and the rings have been exchanged, the vows are solidified through the ceremony of the saptapadi, or “seven steps.” During this part of the wedding ceremony, the bride and groom take seven steps together. Each step taken represents one of the seven vows and promises that they make to each other. The priest recites mantras that are specific to each one of the steps as the bride and groom walk together. Although the bride and groom may have already given simple vows of their own during the ring exchange, at this time, they will recite vows based in Hindu tradition, and between each one, they will kick a small item (such as a stone or betel nut) off a pile of rice. Some couples may opt to just touch the item with their big toe as opposed to kicking it off the pile of rice. Whichever method they decide to use, this tradition is definitely a physical embodiment of the huge commitment a journey of marriage takes.

SWEET EATING (KANSAR BHAKSHAN) 

Similar to traditional American weddings where the bride and groom feed each other cake, in a Hindu wedding the Kansar Bhakshan is an exchange of sweets between the bride and groom. Usually, the couple will fast on the day of their wedding, only breaking it with this tradition. For those who practice this tradition, the Kansar Bhakshan is an exciting time indeed as they finally get to eat; and something delicious at that! Such a practice is a wonderful way for the bride and groom to share their very first meal together as a married couple.

I PRONOUNCE YOU HUSBAND AND WIFE (ASHIRWAD) 

The final, official, step of a Hindu wedding is the Ashirwad, translating from Sanskrit to mean “blessings.” All of the elders that are part of both families play an extremely important role in this ceremony, as their wisdom and love helps to build the structure of a Hindu family. Once the priest has declared the couple as husband and wife, the newly married pair will take a bow to the crowd from the Mandap to thank everyone for attending as well as accept them as witnesses to their union.

As the couple makes their way through the crowd on their way out of the ceremony site, they will seek Ashirwad from their parents (usually by touching their parents’ feet or embracing in a hug to show respect), grandparents, and elderly members of their family. Walking through the crowd on their way out of the wedding site, the guests will shower them with something such as flower petals or rice in order to offer their own Ashirwaad to the newlyweds. This ceremony is a wonderful way for the couple to celebrate their new beginning together.

The ceremony has ended, but the fun will continue! Let’s take a look at what other unique and interesting Indian wedding traditions make up the culture of Hindu Weddings.

THE SEND OFF (VIDAAI)

While the couple is leaving the ceremony site, just like in most traditional weddings, friends and family will gather to see the newlyweds off. Specifically, the bride’s parents will be involved to ensure a proper sendoff for their daughter, as this moment symbolizes the bride’s departure from her own family to start a new life of living with her husband.

THE HIDDEN SHOES ( JOOTA CHUPAI) 

A fun tradition that is unique to Hindu weddings is one that involves the groom’s shoes. While he is busy getting married, most likely some members of the bride’s family were hard at work making his shoes disappear. Because the groom must remove his shoes before the ceremony (as they can’t be worn on the Mandap), no one is around to keep them guarded! It’s tradition for the shoes to be captured and hidden somewhere as a show of acceptance and open hearts to the joining of the groom to the bride’s family.

This fun game usually precedes the recession and negotiations with the groom will take place for the shoes to be returned so that he can leave with his beautiful bride! A reward will usually be offered for the missing shoes and there is no doubt that much fun and laughter is had at seeing how long it will take for the shoes to show up!

FAMILY FORMALS 

When it comes to setting up the wedding day plan, traditionally the family pictures will be taken right after the ceremony before everyone makes their way to the reception area. This plan is the same for Hindu weddings and usually, the best location to capture these photos is right on the Mandap, where the bride and groom can be in the center and the family can gather around for photos to be taken.

COUPLE’S SESSION 

Once the family photos have been taken and all family members have been guided to the reception area, the newlyweds can now have their own time to shine. If a first look was utilized before the wedding, this time after family photographs is perfect for maybe sneaking in a couple of extra photos that capture the bride and groom’s overwhelming love and excitement now that they are a married couple. If there wasn’t a first look, the couple’s session is when all of the photos of just the bride and groom can be captured.

RECEPTION CHANGE 

Because Hindu weddings tend to have a lot of outfit changes between all of the different ceremonies, most likely the bride and groom will opt into an outfit change after their photos and before entering the reception area. This outfit change may be something as simple as adding different jewelry or some more comfortable shoes, or it could be a completely new Sari and Kafni.

Photo by Sean Williams on Unsplash


RECEPTION DETAILS/ PERFORMANCES 

When it comes to the reception, Hindu wedding goers hold nothing back! Similar to many other cultures, the reception is a time of celebration and socialization where the families and friends of the couple can come together to have a wonderful time and set the newlywed’s married journey off on the right foot. On average, the reception may have around 300-500 people and the new couple will be in the center of it all - typically on a raised stage so everyone can see them easily. Elaborate decorations, great music, photos, cake cutting, gifts, and more can be seen at a Hindu reception. There are a few other traditions are quite unique to the culture, such as throwing money at the couple while the dance in order to wish them prosperity.

Another example of something that makes Hindu receptions unique would be the amount of professional dances and choreography that takes place during the celebration. Not only do friends and family members put on their own shows, it is not uncommon for the couple to have hired professional dance troupes to entertain and liven up the party even further!

During the times when people aren’t dancing, they are most likely eating. Hindu weddings are known for their good food (and amount of food), so it’s no surprise to hear that a typical Hindu reception meal can be made up of around 10 appetizers, four or five main entrees, followed by yogurt, salad, naan, and much more! Delicious sweet treats and cookies will round off the meal, but no one should worry about the food running out; there will most likely be something available even after the last person leaves the reception hall.

Summary 

Overall, there is no doubt that the cultures of a Hindu wedding are not only beautiful and lively, but also exhilarating. It’s wonderful that so much time and detail go into making the couple of such a wedding feel supported and loved every step of the way. While the support and love for the couple during their special day can be seen across multiple cultures - there is just something about the way Indian families come together. They celebrate the joining of new lives over the course of a week with individual celebrations like the Baraat, Mehndi and mixed social events like the wedding reception. It is special, beautiful, and an event that is not easily forgotten.

Conclusion 


Your behavior improves with marriage. Married people may take fewer risks, eat better, and maintain healthier lifestyles, on average, compared with single people. There is also evidence that married people tend to keep regular doctors' appointments and follow doctors' recommendations more often than single people.
There is fascinating — and compelling — research suggesting that married people enjoy better health than single people. For example, as compared with those who are single, those who are married tend to 
  • live longer.
  • have fewer strokes and heart attacks.
  • have a lower chance of becoming depressed.
  • be less likely to have advanced cancer at the time of diagnosis and more likely to survive cancer for a longer period of time.
  • survive a major operation more often.

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Discus