Booking the hall, deciding on caterers, choosing the mandap and decorations, sending out the invitations, finding photographers, choosing the Priest – music, bridal outfits, nails, makeup, jewellery, matching colour schemes, groom’s outfit and so on. All these are very important in a wedding ceremony. It is really stressful for arranging a wedding ceremony but if we hire an event management or wedding planners, it will be relaxing and we can enjoy every moment of the ceremony.
According to Hindu Dharma, marriage is a sacrament. Its purpose is to create and develop a religious and spiritual outlook on life. Marriage influences the personality of man and woman as life partners, enabling them to take their rightful place in society.
Hindu marriage is solemnised in accordance with an approved ritual instructed by the VEDAS, the holy scriptures of the Hindus. According to Hindu Dharma, the ceremony of marriage is a firm uniting of two souls such that after marriage the individual bodies remain as separate entities but the souls merge into one harmonious whole. The idea behind the institution of marriage in Hindu Dharma is to foster not self-interest, but love for the entire family (and society). It is the love and duty cultivated for the entire family that prevents break-ups. During the nuptial ceremony in a Vedic marriage, both the bride and the bridegroom take an oath for the practice of self-restraint, to work together for the welfare of the family & Dharma and to help each other attain spiritual peace. This lofty ideal of sanctity is a great gift of Hindu Dharma to the world at large.
The majority of a Hindu marriage ceremony takes place inside a four-pole canopy termed the mandap and takes place in different stages.
Weddings in Kerala are simple and brief. They have very few rituals and far lesser religious compulsions. A traditional Hindu wedding takes place in a nearby temple, the bride’s residence or in a convention centre convenient for both parties.
Muhurtham: The parents of the girl and boy exchange horoscopes. And if the horoscopes match, the families choose an auspicious date or muhurtham after consulting with the family astrologer.
Nishchyam: The engagement Ceremony: Different communities in Kerala depending on their place of origin have their own engagement ceremonies. Usually, engagement happens in the girl’s house. During the celebration, there may be a ring exchange ceremony. The families exchange gifts.
Pre-nuptial blessing of the bride: This function takes place at the bride’s residence on the previous day of the Hindu wedding. Only her close family members and relatives attend this function. It often involves a grand fest. The bride wears fine jewellery and silk saree. She is then made to sit facing the east. Elders give her their blessings. A similar function is organized by the groom’s family in his house.
Mehendi Ceremony: This ceremony takes place at the bride’s house where the bride’s aunts apply mehendi on her hands. This is a very celebrated ceremony.
The girls wear a traditional Kasavu Saree (Kerala saree) and the boy’s wear a Shirt and Mundu. The stage is decorated with lamps and flowers. There is no priest or fire or Homam unless the function happens in a temple. There is a para – a vessel made of brass and copper filled with nellu (rice grains with husks).
The girl is brought into the hall accompanied by her aunts and sisters, each of them carrying lit lamps in their hands. The boy arrives the same way.
Once they are seated, the boy’s parents will bring a thali (mangalsutra), which is a simple gold chain with a leaf-like pendant. The boy ties it around the girl’s neck and his sisters help in the process. Then, garlands are exchanged. At this point, the girl’s father holds her hand and gives it to the boy. This symbolises handing over the girl to the boy’s family.
The boy then holds the girl’s hand, go around the stage three times, thus signalling the end of the wedding. They then receive blessings from the oldest members of the family.
Pudamuri: The bridegroom gifts the bride a sari and a blouse on a platter, conveying to her that he will now assume the responsibility of providing for her life. This ritual is called “Pudamuri.”
The couple exchange garlands accepting each other as life partners. The bride’s father places her right hand in the right hand of the bridegroom, symbolically transferring the responsibility of taking care of his daughter, in holy matrimony. Then, older relatives bless and escort them to another room. The guests too follow and bless them with gifts.
A typical meal in Kerala Hindu weddings is the sadhya. Sadhya consists of 25 items, served on plantain leaves. Rice, three varieties of pickle, curries and sweets, avial, toran, olan, kalam, pacchari, payasam, pappads and finally, the desert – paladaa prathaman or chaka prathaman, are a part of the elaborate meal.
POST WEDDING CEREMONY
Grihapravesh: At an appointed auspicious time, the bride proceeds to her new home. She takes the blessings of her parents and all elders present at the venue. As she reaches her new house, the women take ‘aarthi’ to cast off the evil eye. The bride holds a traditional lamp in her hand and is asked to enter the house with her right foot. The entire house is bright with lamps all over the house. People consider this to be a good omen as the couple starts their life together. This Hindu wedding ceremony is called ‘kudivep.’ The in-laws give the bride jewels and gifts.
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