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Hindu Weddings and Why they are so Special

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Posted by Claudia Garcia on September 19, 2017

A colorful celebration full of symbolism, this union represents the “Samskara”, meaning sacred trust. These ceremonies are based on a series of social and religious practices, established more than forty centuries ago in the Vedas (ancient Hindu scriptures). In India, they not only represent the union of the bride and groom, but celebrate the coming together of two families.

Marriage has three fundamental aims: “Dharma” which means having the presence of another person for the fulfillment of their religious duties; “Praja,” for offspring and “Krama,” which implies sexual pleasure.

Ceremonial rituals, organized by the bride’s family, begin when parents choose a husband for their daughter. Then, both families visit the Brahman, the priest who will choose the wedding date according to the position of the planets and the Hindu calendar.

Every detail has a different meaning

The wedding is celebrated in the bride’s house inside a “Mandapa”; a covered structure with pillars embellished with flowers, carpets, cushions, and garlands. Each union is different according to the region, caste, and family, but in all cases the celebration lasts several days and comprises the following stages:

Prior to the wedding:

Haldi: Occurs two or three days before the wedding. A mixture of turmeric paste, chickpea flour, lemon juice, sandalwood, and rose water is applied to the bride and groom’s hands, feet, and face to illuminate the skin and attract good luck.

Mehndi: One day prior to the ceremony and as a bachelorette party, the bride and her closest female relatives decorate their hands and feet with henna to highlight their beauty. Usually these tattoos are done among them or by a professional artist, while singing traditional melodies.

Baraat: This is the groom’s arrival (usually on horseback), attired in an achkan (a long shirt), a yellow turban, and typical shoes called jooti; accompanied by his family amidst a parade, songs, and dances.

Milni: The bride’s family greets the groom’s family with flower garlands and traditional Indian sweets. Here the members of both families introduce themselves, fostering peace and acceptance among them.

Ganesh Puja: Before the ceremony begins, the Puja, is performed for luck to be bestowed onto the bride and groom as well as their families, so that whatever obstacles they may face will be destroyed.

During the big day:

Fire is set in a container inside the Mandapa, in front of which the bride and groom will exchange vows. The groom arrives first, takes a seat and drinks a mixture of milk, butter, yogurt, honey, and sugar. Subsequently, the bride walks up to the altar on the arm of her father; the couple can not yet see one another since they are separated by a white veil.

Jai Mala: The veil falls and the bride and groom exchange flower garlands symbolizing their mutual acceptance.

Kanye Danam: The bride’s father officially gives away his daughter, pouring holy water over her hand and joining it with the groom’s hand.

Vivaha-homa: The priest invokes blessings on this union while the couple delivers offerings to the sacred fire and exchange rings.

Shilarohan: The bride climbs a stone that represents her wish to overcome obstacles during marriage and the groom marks her hair with kum-kum powder indicating that she is now a married woman.

Saptapadi: The couple takes seven steps around the fire, each accompanied by a Vedic prayer for food, strength, prosperity, wisdom, children, health, and friendship.

Mangalsutra Dharanam: To symbolize bonding, the groom places a necklace around his bride’s neck, and from that moment on, she must wear it as long as the marriage lasts.
After the wedding:

Give Aashirvad: Once married, the couple receives blessings from both families and women whisper in the bride’s ear. When they leave, the guests sprinkle rice and flowers to wish them happiness and prosperity.

Bidai: The bride bids farewell to her family, to travel on a doli, an ornate platform, to her husband’s house. Upon arrival, she kicks a bowl full of rice with her right foot, in order to obtain food, wisdom, and abundance.

The reception that follows does not adhere to any specific tradition, it is simply to celebrate with music, food, and dancing that the alliance was successful. It also represents the first public appearance as husband and wife. Finally, two or three days later, the married couple thanks Vishnu with an oath of fidelity.

An unforgettable destination wedding

hands with henna

For couples who decide to get married away from home, Velas Resorts properties in Puerto Vallarta, Riviera Nayarit, Riviera Maya and Los Cabos offer expert wedding planners who will lavish attention on meeting the customs and wishes of the bride and groom regarding their wedding.

The resorts’ stunning facilities offer the most romantic locations, both natural (beach or beautiful gardens) and incredible terraces as well as large lounges. The ceremony and reception will be accompanied by luxury amenities and delicious banquet service, enveloped in dream decor and lighting.

Without doubt the service is also key, as Velas Resorts pampers the bride and groom before and during the big day with Spa treatments, in-suite amenities and personalized services; even after the ceremony, the resort will amaze you, exceeding your expectations with romantic breakfasts in your suite and many other surprises.

Saying “I do” in any of these heavenly resorts will be a doubly good decision.

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