Wedding Traditions Of A Hindu Wedding

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Wedding Traditions Of A Hindu Wedding


The wedding traditions of Hinduism is said to be many, but unfortunately the origins can be somewhat unknown. With that being said the Hindu wedding is one of their most honored ceremonies and would often last over several days. In today’s society things have changed now that everyone has much busier schedules, therefore they had to condense the ceremonies to the night before the wedding, as well as the actual wedding day itself.


Hinduism is still considered as one of the oldest religions still being practiced in the world today and has sacred writings that go back as far as 3,000 B.C. In the Hindu wedding ceremony, the bride is not the main focus as she is in Western culture, but it’s more about the families from both sides coming together on the wedding day. The heart of India’s culture is centered on the Vedas, which are the sacred scriptures. The Vedas, which divides life into four celebrated stages, are known as:


  • Studentship
  • Householder
  • Retirement
  • Self-realization


A marriage in a Hindu ceremony is considered a sacrament, because you are going from the phase of life called studentship to the new phase, householder. Householder begins to form the foundations of the different phases of life; therefore much of a Hindus’ life will depend on a successful marriage.


A couple of traditional Hindu wedding traditions would be to have the ceremony take place under a mandap, also known as a canopy, while the bride is traditionally painted in henna on both her feet and her hands. These wedding traditions are known to honor the couple’s love for each other. To ensure that their marriage is a success, they would invoke the blessings of their different gods, while the families join in the celebration. In some weddings, they may pray to Ganesha, who has the head of an elephant and represents the god of wisdom and salvation. By praying to him, they believe that he will remove all obstacles from the wedding ceremony and will take place either the night before or a couple of days prior to the ceremony.


Prior to the wedding ceremony the groom’s family and party, which are called the vara yatra, will arrive with much dancing and singing. It wouldn’t be unusual to see the groom enter the ceremony riding on an elephant or horse, while the bride’s family and friends greet them. They are greeted with a plate that is carrying a lamp with garland, some rice and will have a dot placed on their forehead called a tilak. The tilak generally symbolizes a third eye and is often connected with many of the Hindu gods.


Just before the wedding is to begin, a ceremony takes place that is known as the grahashanti, which simply means “peace with the planets.” In the ceremony, each planet will be called by name and will be prayed upon for blessings for the couple’s new life together. The bride will then be led to the mandap by a male relative, which is usually done by either her uncle or brother. They will lead her to her groom, who will be waiting along with the bride’s parents.


At this point the kanyadan ceremony will begin. The kanyadan is where the bride’s parents offer their daughter in marriage to the groom. They will wash the feet of both the bride and the groom with milk and water symbolizing them as being purified for their new life together as a couple. The groom and his bride will then hold both their hands open while the father of the bride holds his palm over theirs as the mother-of- the-bride pours water over her husband’s hands, this will allow the water to fall onto the couple’s hands.


The hastamilap is the ceremony in which the groom and brides are joined together by their hands. They take the bride’s right hand and place it nicely onto the groom’s right hand. Then the priest will say some holy vows, as their hands are being tied together with cotton thread. Since the thread is known to be so thin and easy to break, the thread will be tied around them several times. This also serves as a symbol of the couple’s unbreakable bond with each other.


Most Hindu weddings are very colorful as the women wear beautiful and brightly colored sarongs. The bride will usually wear a red sarong that is full of very intricate designs and will be covered in gold jewelry, while the groom will often wear a hat that includes tassels, which in turn will cover his face.