Based upon the region of India in which the actual wedding ceremony is taking place, there may be some slight differences. However, overall the ceremony is the same and has remained unchanged for hundreds of years.
From Punjab to Kashmir, Hindu weddings are conducted with a strict adherence to their deities and the Vedic scriptures. Referred to as the Vedas, these scriptures go back thousands of years to the time the Aryans first set foot on the sub continent of India.
The reading of the Vedas denotes the importance of “blessing” as the bride and groom commence their wedding vows.
The sacredness of the Hindu wedding is portrayed by different ceremonial acts that include the participation of both sets of parents of the bridal couple. Beginning with the procession from the groom's home to the temple or makeshift Hindu altar, every part of the ceremony is rich with historical and spiritual significance. These traditions completely convey the specialness of the event.
The ceremony is officiated by a priest. He has the couple sit in front of a fire, which is symbolic of the continuity of life. Various relatives are asked to place offerings in the fire because it is believed the Hindu deities are present as well.
The bride is then committed into the hands of the groom by her parents after several other rituals are performed. The priest then describes how the couple are to respect and fulfill their marital obligations to one another. This ends the ceremony.
Hindu wedding celebrations continue while the newlyweds exchange informal and formal salutations with relatives and invited guests. At the end of the celebration the newlyweds go to the groom’s house where they will live. The bride’s feet are washed with milk and she in turn sprinkles milk around her new dwelling. Milk symbolizes what her new role within the family is to be, that of mediator of family disagreements.
Finally the last public expression of the couple’s commitment to one another is when each places a handful of salt in the other’s hand several times. This ritual marks the merging of the bride into the husband’s family.
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