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Indian Marriage Ceremonies & Weddings

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Marriages are made in heaven ! Indian marriages are many a times "arranged", although that is changing dramatically. Is has been said that two people marry not only themselves but  two families get married to each other. Therefore you will see that some Indian parents still play a big role in finding a bride or a groom for their children. With westernization influencing the eastern cultures many age old practices are being forgotten. The " young and the restless" are following new traditions and paths to find their mates.


Yet many in India still rely on their parents wisdom, foresight and connections to find the right  person for them. Besides family, friends and neighbors many match making services, personals and now internet personals  provide  opportunity for people to get together. 

Common terms related to Indian Marriages 

Kundli - is a horoscope made when a child is born.
Pundit - is a religious person who carries out the prayers for the marriage ceremonies. 
Mehndi – a paste made out of dried and crushed Henna leaves and applied on the hands and feet in a decorative manner. This is also known and popularized here in the US as "temporary tatoos".
Mehndi-wallis – women who apply mehndi on a professional basis.
Saree – a traditional outfit for women, which is a 6 feet long cloth tied in a traditional  manner around the waist and worn with a figure-hugging blouse.
Puja – ceremony or prayer.
Puja samaan – religious items used for the ceremony.
Shlokas – religious sayings.

Playing in the background is the Shenai

The sound of the shehnai is considered particularly auspicious.  For this reason it is found in temples and is an indispensable component of almost any Indian wedding.   

The tune you are listening to is Raag Bhairavi played by none other than Ustaad Bismillah Khan. 


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The shehnai is a north Indian oboe.  Although it is referred to as a double-reeded instrument it is actually a quadruple-reed instrument.   This is because it has two upper reeds and two lower reeds.   The instrument has a wooden body with a brass bell.   The reed is attached to a brass tube which is wrapped in string.  The shehnai has eight holes.   

Many marriages are, still to this day, arranged within the religion and preferably in the same community. Traditionally, either the boy’s parents or the girl’s parents initiate the proposal. A ‘pundit’ matches the proposed couple’s ‘kundlis’.  After the ‘kundlis’ are matched, both the families come to a mutual agreement and the girl and boy are meet. The ‘pundit’ informs the families about the auspicious days for the wedding ceremony. 

The girl’s family has a lot more to do for the wedding preparations. Also, most of the wedding expenses are borne by the girl’s family.

There are a number of ceremonies for an Indian wedding. The main functions are the engagement, the ‘mehndi’ party, pre- dinner parties, the wedding and the reception. Besides these functions, there are numerous small functions like the boy’s family inviting specific close relatives from the girl’s family over for lunch or dinner, vice versa, small specific ceremonies relating to specific religions followed by either of the families and close relatives inviting the wedding families over.

Indian weddings are carried on with great pomp and grandeur. A marriage is perhaps the most important social occasion for any family as for the individual. More on weddings and traditions coming your way..........

Hindu Weddings 

Traditional Hindu wedding ceremonies can last for days and involve much ritual in Sanskrit which may be understood only by the priest conducting the service. 

Hindu weddings are supposed to take place outside, on the earth, under a canopy known as a mandap.

A Hindu Wedding is not simply an exchange of vows and rings. It includes a number of religious rites before and during the nuptials, which are performed in the presence of family deities. These represent the importance of the bond between a husband and wife. A Hindu marriage or "Vivaha" is incomplete without the blessings of god.

The Seven Holy Steps

Hindu marriage ceremonies involve many elaborate rituals, one of the most important being the "Saat Pheere" or 7 circles around the holy fire. Also known as "SaptaPadi" - "Sapta" means "seven" and "padi" means "steps".   This ritual involves the bride and groom circumambulating around the sacred fire seven times while the priest chants the holy mantras. With every step, the couple invokes the Gods to shower their blessings on them. 


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