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Religious Rites

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Religious Rites

Marriage in any faith is considered to be the joint union of a man and a woman. It is commitment, love and faith in themselves and their religion, which holds the marriage. Marriage in Christianity and Islam has the same goal of committing a man and a woman together however the process to that point has its own symbolistic significance within that faith. Marriage is considered to be a rite of passage in both Christianity and Islam, a rite of passage in reference to any religion is a ritual or ceremony marking an individual's passing from one stage or state to a more advanced one, or an event in one's life that seems to have such significance; an example is marriage.

Marriage is considered to be an important rite of passage in Christianity. The joint marriage of a man and a woman in marriage is believed to be like the union, which exists between Jesus Christ and the church. According to Mark 10:6-9, Marriage is described as 'At the beginning of creation god made them male and female. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two but one, therefore what god has joined together let no man separate'. Within Christianity exist a number of denominations that do practice the tradition or sacrament of marriage. In the Orthodox Church, marriage is considered to be a sacrament and is held within high significance. There is a lot of symbolism entwined within the marriage ceremony.

The most important aspect within the marriage ceremony is the exchanging of the rings; this generally signifies the permanent relationship and undying love for each other. It is a symbol of the relationship as there is no beginning and no end to it, it's an endless cycle just like the love . In the orthodox denomination the rings are a symbol of the promise to each other and the exchanging of the rings symbolizes that the weakness of one partner will be helped by the strength of the next partner. The rings are significant as it allows an individual to know and a reminder that the person is married.

The couples are then given candles to hold throughout the ceremony; in regards to orthodoxy the candles are a "spiritual willingness" of the couple to receive Christ, which is seen as a blessing from Jesus Christ. Throughout the ceremony, the couple join their right hands, this is done whilst the priest says the following " join these thy servants, unite them in one mind and one flesh". The hands are continually joined which symbolizes the unity between the couple (Mark 10:6-9) . The couples have crowns placed on their heads, these crowns are signs of the glory and honour that God places on their heads, and this however is only seen mainly within the orthodox denomination.

Once the married couple have been crowned the couple then drink from the same cup, this cup is called "the common cup", this sharing of the wine symbolizes the fact that they will be sharing everything in life, good and bad times. This yet again signifies the joint union of a man and a woman. Once they have drunk from the common cup the couple then walk around the alter which asymbolises the couples first step as husband and wife with the priest leading the direction in which they walk. The way in which the priests leads them is in a circles around the alter symbolizing that Jesus is considered to be the center in their lives and they are to base their life around Jesus and his teachings. Once they finish their walk, the bride and groom return to their places and are given a final blessing and their marriage is considered to be unified.

In regards to Islam, the marriage ceremony has its own methods of unifying a man and a woman. It is often that in the Islamic faith, the couple's parents usually arrange marriages and it is traditionally accepted within that faith. Islamic marriages should be consented by both the man and the woman and both the husband and the wife have the right to disapprove of the parent's choice, as being forced to marry is unaccepted according to Islamic law .

The marriage process is as follows. The union between the man and the women is announced publicly symbolizing the good news that the couple will be married. Once that is announced a Nikah or contract is drawn up, this is not considered to be a sacred contract, it is viewed as a 'business' contract outlining the rights and duties of the husband and wife, this is usually agreed on between both families and it must be signed by the husband and wife. The Nikah is considered to be the most important part of a Muslim wedding as it symbolizes the consent given by both the man and the woman and is symbolic of the love and devotion they have in each other.

An Imam is usually present at the wedding and is considered to be the messenger of Allah, and he reads verses or suras from the Qur'an and vows are passed between the bride and the groom. The imam is symbolized as the wise leader leading the



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