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Marriage: the 13th Rite of Passage in Hindu Culture

Hindu Bride
Marriage: the 13th Rite of Passage in Hindu Culture
on January, 06 2014
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Under the Hindu culture, marriage is the 13th rite of passage out of the 16 most important ceremonies observed during a person’s lifetime.

According to Hindu culture, there are 16 most important ceremonies in a person’s lifetime. Marriage is the 13th rite of passage that is considered as a transition from the first stage of life. The first part of a person’s life is primarily spent on learning and acquiring education while the next part is committed to marriage, raising a family and building a home. Marriage is referred to as the Vivaah Sanskar, a serious leap from the first to the second stages of life.

Marriage ceremonies

The rituals observed in Hindu marriage vary according to region. Nonetheless, the basic rituals that are commonly practiced in any Hindu wedding are the Kanyadaan, Panigrahana and Saptapadi, which entail the giving away of the daughter by her father, holding hands between the man and woman by the fire to symbolize union and making seven steps while vowing or promising to each other. The fire, considered sacred, is very significant in Hindu weddings because it is the main witness to the unification of a couple before their respective families and acquaintances.

Rituals

Necessary rituals are conducted before and after the wedding celebration, which again vary according to region or the predisposition of the groom and bride and families. The events may last for several days, depending on the preference of the families of the couple. At times, a whole day celebration is enough as long as the customary rites are completely carried out.

Before the marriage proper, an engagement is held at the bride’s residence. The groom and his party come to the bride’s place in which they make a processional formation as they march and dance with an accompanying music while approaching the house. Meanwhile the ceremonies after the wedding include the welcoming of the bride to the groom’s home, which he usually shares with his family if he has not built his own home yet. These rituals are called Abhishek, Anna Prashashan, Aashirvadah and Grihapravesa.

Life after marriage

After the wedding ceremonies, the married couple is bound to perform their duties to each other. Dharma refers to the performance of their righteous duty to their marriage vows, Artha denotes the obtaining of wealth and Kama is the physical union of the groom and bride for their sensual enjoyment. Throughout their marriage, the couple is expected to live productively, work hard and perform duties to themselves, their families and community as a whole. Marriage for the Hindus is a sacred sacrament in which a man and a woman are placed in a union of their soul and spirit.

Romantic story

From the eyes of a witness, a Hindu wedding ceremony appears to be a romantic story in which the bride and groom who do not know each other are paired together. They arrive in the venue with their separate parties and entourage. They meet, fall in love and ask for blessings from their parents to get married. The traditional wedding rites in which the couple will pledge their loyalty and love to each other take place. After performing the seven steps, they are pronounced as a married couple and they receive the well wishers for a blissful life from everyone.

AUTHOR
Bernadine Racoma

Bernadine is a writer, researcher, professional and multi-awarded blogger and new media consultant. She brings with her a rich set of experience in the corporate world, as well as in the field of research and writing. Having taken early retirement after working as an international civil servant and traveling the world for 22 years, she has aggressively pursued her main interest in writing and research. You can also find Bernadine Racoma at .

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