The Hindu marriage is an ancient tradition. Hindu marriage rituals and prayers are mentioned in the Hindu Theology Rig Veda, which is said to be at least five thousand years old.
Hindu wedding is an elaborate function. Even though most of the Hindus today perform one or two day wedding rituals, the proper Hindu wedding function takes at least one week.
Hindu wedding rituals begins with the Engagement Ceremony. Engagement ceremony is a function when the groom along with the family members and close relatives go to the bride’s house and exchange gifts which include dried fruits, fruits, sweetmeats, clothes and jewelry. Engagement Ceremony is a function when it is officially agreed that the boy and the girl will get married in a certain day.
Hindu Wedding Rites
Hindu wedding rituals begin at least a week before the wedding day. The bride and the groom have to perform elaborate rituals administered by the priests. Even though the bride and the groom perform the wedding rituals together, some rituals are reserved for the groom and some are for the bride.
Before the big day arrives, Hindu wedding rites officially begin with the Ganesha Puja. The bride and the groom both perform Ganesha Puja in their respective houses. Interestingly, Hindu laws have sanctioned different rituals for the bride and the groom.
Hindu Marriage Rituals for the Groom
Ganesha Puja: Hindu Marriage officially begins by worshiping Hindu God Ganesha. This is usually performed a week before the marriage function.
Haldi Function: Parents, siblings and relatives will apply haldi (body pack made from different kinds of scented herbs, similar to face pack) over the groom’s body, and mark his forehead with red color and gift him money and fruits. The haldi function usually takes the day before the marriage.
Planetary Deities Worshiping: After haldi function, the groom is required to worship planetary deities.
Marriage Procession: On the wedding day, people will escort the groom to the bride’s house.
Yagya Cenremony: For couple of hours, the groom will have to sit with the bride before the sacrificial fire on and worship deities. During the yagya ceremony, the groom will mark bride’s head with red color called sindur and circumambulate the altar seven times. Sindu applying and circumambulating the altar are two main aspects of Hindu wedding.
Feasting: Yagya ceremony will be followed by a reception.
Tika Ceremony: Before the groom returns to his house with the bride, bride’s women relatives will mark the bride and groom’s forehead with red color and gift them money.
Face showing: Once the bride and the groom are in the groom’s house, parents, siblings and relatives will gift the new member of the family gold jewelry and money. They will apply vermilion on the bride’s and groom’s forehead.
Churthi rituals: The day after the marriage, the bride and the groom will have to worship deities.
Satyanarayan Puja: After churthi function, the bride and the groom will have to worship Hindu God
Reception party: Wedding officially ends with a reception party.
Hindu Marriage Rituals for the Bride
Most of the aforementioned rituals are also followed by the bride, however, there are some rituals exclusively reserved for bride. Here are some Hindu Wedding rituals performed by the bride.
Ganesha Puja: Worshipping of Hindu God Ganesha
Haldi Function: Bride’s family and the relatives apply scented herbs on the bride’s body and gift her bank notes and fruits
Planetary Deities Worshipping: Nine planetary deities and Astha Matrika(World Mothers) are worshipped.
Wedding Rituals: When the marriage procession (the groom and the members of groom family and friends) arrives in the bride’s house, girls and women will shower the procession and groom with flower. The groom will be escorted to the bride.
Swyambar: The bride will circumambulate the groom and then apply red color on his forehead and put ring on his finger. The groom will also mark the bride’s forehead with tika and put her ring. They will than exchange their garlands.
Feet washing: Bride’s parents and close relatives will wash the bride’s feet and groom’s hand,then they will apply red color on the couple’s forehead and gift money.
Kanyadan: After the feet washing, bride’s parents and relatives will grab’s bride’s hand and groom’s hand and a long prayer is read.
Yagya ceremony: This is the function to be done by the bride and the groom. The couple sit on the altar and perform the fire sacrifice.
Reception: After yagya ceremony there will be reception party.
Tika ceremony: Tika ceremony follows after reception. During the tika ceremony, bride’s relatives will introduce themselves to the groom and put tika mark on the couples’ forehead.
Bidai: Bidai is a seeing off ceremony. The bride will be taken to the groom’s house.
Face showing: The groom’s family members and relatives will gift money and jewelry and introduce themselves to the bride.
Churthi: The next day, the bride and the groom will perform sacrificial rituals and Satyanaraayan (Lord Vishnu) Puja.
Reception party: Wedding in the groom’s house will end with the reception party.
Back to bride’s house: After the reception party ends’ on the groom’s house, the bride and the groom will return to bride’s parental house.
Satyanaraayan Puja: On the following day, Satyanaraayan Puja will be performed and the marriage officially closes.