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Hindu Weddings

Essay by   •  December 31, 2010  •  Essay  •  1,402 Words (6 Pages)  •  1,425 Views

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Extravagant clothing, succulent victuals, exquisite flowers, spectacular photography and many other grand decorations are the foundation of a Hindu marriage. Hindu marriages, like most other cultural wedding ceremonies, are deeply concerned with their religious rituals and customs. Most ceremonies in the Hindu culture are family oriented with great emphasis on entertainment and inspiration. Also, off course, the amount of decorations and the extent to which the rituals are carried out depends greatly on the class of the families in society. Wealthier families are inclined to spend vast amounts of money into the wedding ceremony to make it extremely extravagant, whereas the lower class families tend to just complete the essential rituals that are part of the wedding. However, in both cases amusement and entertainment play a major role in carrying out the wedding ceremony. The Hindu wedding that I attended was a middle-upper class wedding in which both the bride and the groom’s families were of the same Hindu origin. In most Hindu cultures, it is crucial for the families of both the bride and the groom to be of the same stature. That, however, is changing with time. The overall wedding in the Hindu culture lasts from a couple of days to a week. There are a number of rituals that take place on each day and each ritual symbolizes a certain aspect of life. The wedding I attended was of a close friend’s sister. So, therefore, I experienced more rituals from the bride’s side. I also managed to have a fifteen minute conversation with the priest, who was present on the wedding day. This was mainly to gain an understanding of Hinduism and the significance of certain customs that took place. (ADD More)

Fundamentally, there are eight types of marriages in the Hindu culture according to the Laws of Manu or Manusmriti. All eight symbolize different groups of people and their values in society. I asked the priest how all eight were different and which one does this particular wedding correspond to. He briefly explained the important ones. The highest form of marriage, often also considered the noble type, is the Brahma marriage, in which the boy’s family approaches the girl’s family after careful assessment and there is no commercial deal carried out between the two families. Then, the opposite of that is the Arsha marriage, which was carried out mostly amongst the poor families, in which the girl’s family exchanges their daughter for some form of possessions or other resources from the boy’s family. Another type was the Prajapatya marriage in which the girl’s family searches for a suitable groom for their daughter. The others are Daiva, Gandharva, Asura, Paishacha and Rakshasa, all having different implications and significance to the type of wedding take place. He also said that not all marriages necessarily fit into one of these categories and this is mainly due to the progressive and modernized cultures. The one I attended was close to a Brahma marriage as it certainly wasn’t compatible with any other form of marriage. (ADD More analysis)

The Wedding Ceremony (need to cut into paragraphs)

Just like the traditional Hindu wedding ceremony, this wedding lasted for about a week. Each day was filled with entertainment and rituals taking place bonding the two families together. Both the bride’s and the groom’s family were not related in any way so it was an entirely new relationship being built between the two families. The bride and the groom however, had met before and had an understanding between them. For a Hindu marriage to take place it is crucial for the families to get to know each other as well and a strong bond between the families is just as necessary as the bond between the couple. At first there were dinners and parties held in order to get to know each other better and finally an agreement was reached on which date to carry out the wedding. There are mainly three parts of the entire wedding ceremony and they can be identified as, the pre-marriage celebration, the main day ceremony and the post-marriage rituals. There are a number of pre-marriage celebrations that are carried out, including the engagement and other days on which families and friends get together and rejoice. Other pre-marriage celebrations consist of Mehndi, Sangeet, and Tilak. Mehndi, also known as henna, plays a great role in the wedding celebrations. There is a whole day devoted to the Mehndi Ceremony, which is performed by the bride’s side. There was a banquet hall booked for the Mehndi ceremony and close to three hundred guests were invited. There was singing and dancing to traditional music, remarkable diversity of foods, exquisite decorations with an elegant assortment of mostly yellow flowers. The bride’s friends and relatives performed wonderful dances. The girls applied henna on the bride’s hands and feet, making traditional designs and patterns.



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