Indian weddings are filled with rituals and traditions, and while we follow most of these, we have no idea about what they mean or what their significance is. Most of the traditions are put in place to ward off evil and to help ensure that the couple starts off their married life in the most auspicious way! Some Indian wedding traditions, however, are done for entirely different reasons. Let's find out what they are!
1. Tilak Ceremony
This is usually performed at the groom’s house. The ceremony aims to bring both families together to celebrate the auspicious nature of the occasion and strengthen the bond between the two families.
This is a common South Indian tradition in which the groom is taken in an open vehicle around town before his wedding so that anyone who knows any misgivings about this groom can speak up before he gets married to his bride!
3. The Baraat
The baraat is the groom's wedding procession that usually consists of a band and some dancing and singing. The groom may be on an elephant or a horse or even in a car! This procession continues till the venue of the wedding as it symbolises the journey the groom makes to the bride's hometown and marks the moment before the elders of the family meet.
This is when the elders of the family introduce themselves to one another. The bride's side welcomes the groom's side and a small prayer is often recited as gifts are exchanged. Garlands are exchanged to signify the coming together of two families.
5. Jai Mala
Jai Mala is an exchange of garlands between the bride and the groom. Following the baraat, the bride and groom are moved onto an elevated platform where the ceremony is performed. The Jai Mala ceremony implies mutual acceptance of both the bride and the groom towards each other.
Saptapadi is one of the most important parts of a Hindu wedding. The word, Saptapadi means "Seven steps". The newlywed couple takes seven rounds around the holy fire, and that is called Saptapadi. After the seventh round, the groom and bride become husband and wife. The seven rounds signify seven different vows that the couple makes to each other.
Kanyadaan is when the father hands over all his rights and duties towards his daughter to her groom. This way the father gives her daughter as a gift to the groom. As per tradition, the groom is considered a form of Lord Vishnu. Thus, presenting him gifts is deemed as the greatest honour for the parents of the bride. As a result, they offer their daughter to the groom, who is their most cherished gift. As a symbol of acceptance, the groom touches the right shoulder of the bride, promising to take care of her at all times.
8. Rice Kalash
Hindu families believe that the newlywed bride will bring Lakshmi, i.e. fortune, prosperity and wealth to the house. When the bride enters her new home, she spills the rice inside house. Which means, she is bringing or pushing Laxmi inside the house, and by doing so, she is bringing good fortune.