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Weddings In Rajasthan.

Nov 22nd, 2008 01:33
John Martin, kumar gaurav, http://www.rajasthantravelsguide.com/


The Romantic land Rajasthan is well known for its social customs,
traditions and practices reflecting all its royal charm. Wedding
ceremony in Rajasthan is known for its colourful atmosphere created by a
well decorated marriage venue with all regal charm. The groom dressed in
traditionally sherwani, and colourful turban with a sword in his hand
rides to bride's home on a white horse accompanied with a marriage
procession called barat. The bride on the other hand dressed with
lehanga, jewellery and decorated palm awaits the groom.
The marriage procession is greeted with garland and the bride's family
makes all the arrangements like feasts, entertainment programmes for
guests. The rituals of the wedding ceremony starts from Aarti ceremony,
after which the groom is taken to a beautifully decorated Mandap where
bride and groom take seven circle around a holy fire and exchange
garlands. After this the bride starts for groom's house and this is
called the Bidai ceremony. Music and dance is another important part of
the wedding ceremony. Traditional folk dance and music are organised by
the bride's family to welcome the bride and bararti. Also traditional
music instruments like drums are used for this auspicious occasion.
Mouthwatering traditional cuisines are specially cooked for a royal
wedding dinner.
Hindu Weddings :
The Wedding Ceremony
The wedding day usually commences with a fast for both the bride and
groom. The groom will leave his house accompanied by his best man and
one of his younger female relatives whose job it is to keep the groom
awake by shaking a metal pot filled with a few coins and a betel nut
over his head. The history behind this curious custom is that weddings
in India were traditionally held in the evening at which time many a
groom might succumb to slumber!
On leaving his house, the groom's car may be impeded by the younger
female members of his family who demand a "gift" in exchange for
allowing him to leave for his wedding ceremony.
The majority of the wedding ceremony will take place in a Mandap (the
four-pole canopy at centre stage). The sacred fire in the Mandap
symbolises not only the illumination of the mind, knowledge and
happiness but is also a clean and pure witness to the ceremony as it
progresses.
The ceremony itself is a collection of rituals performed by the bride,
bridegroom and their respective parents and close relatives. The priest
chants "mantras" from the Vedas that were originally written in
Sanskrit. He will also use the following in his ceremonies:
* Fresh flowers - to signify beauty
* Coconut - to signify fertility
* Rice, jaggery and other grains - to signify the food necessary for
sustenance of human life
* Ghee (purified butter) - to feed the sacred fire
* Kumkum (vermilion) - red powder used for marking the forehead to
signify good luck and to say that your soul (husband) is with you.
The major stages of the Hindu Ceremony are :
Ganesh Puja
The wedding day starts with a prayer invoking Lord Ganesh whose divine
grace dispel all evils and promotes a successful and peaceful completion
of the ceremony.
Grah Shanti (Worship to the Nine Planets)
This is a prayer to the nine planets of our Solar system. Ancient Indian
studies indicated that various celestial bodies have an influence on the
destiny of every individual. The effect of the nine planets is meant to
be the most profound. During this puja the Gods associated with these
planets are asked to infuse courage, peace of mind and inner strength to
the bride and groom to help them endure life's sufferings.
The Welcome (Parchan)
The bride's mother welcomes the bridegroom with a garland and she then
escorts him to the mandap. The father of the bride washes the right foot
of the bridegroom with milk and honey. At the end of the welcome, a
white sheet is held to prevent this bridegroom seeing the arrival of the
bride.
Arrival of the Bride
The bride is escorted to the mandap by her maternal uncle (Mama), female
cousins and friends. In some wedding ceremonies she may be carried in a
small carriage to the mandap.
Kanyadaan (Entrusting of the Daughter)
Consent of the parents is obtained for the wedding to proceed. The
bride's parents give their daughter to the groom by putting the bride's
right hand into the groom's right hand (Hastamelap, joining of hands)
while reciting sacred verse. The curtain separating the bride and groom
is then lowered and the couple exchange flower garlands. The elders of
the house place an auspicious white cotton cord around the couple's
shoulder's to protect them from the evil influences. This also
symbolises the couple's bond. The groom holds the bride's hand and they
both take vows to love cherish and protect each other throughout life.
Ganthibandhan (tying the knot)
The priest ties the wedding knot as a symbol of the permanent union
between the bride and groom as husband and wife.
Agni Puja (evocation of the holy fire)
The priest sets up a small fire in a kund (cooper bowl). Agni (fire) is
the mouth of Vishnu and symbolises the illumination of mind, knowledge
and happiness. The remainder of the ceremony is conducted around the fire.
Shilarohana (stepping on the stone)
The bride places her right foot on a stone. The bridegroom tells her to
be as firm as the stone in his house so that the can face their enemies
and the difficulties of life together.
Laja homa (putting parched rice into the sacred fire)
Three obligations are offered to the sacred fire. The brother of the
bride puts into the bride's hand parched rice, half of which slips into
the bridegroom's hand. Mantras are chanted. The bride prays to Yama, the
God of Death, that he grant long life, health, happiness and prosperity
to the bridegroom.
Mangalfera (walking around the fire)
The couple walk around the sacred fire four times. Each time they stop
to touch with their toe a stone in their path. This symbolises obstacles
in life that they will overcome together. These four rounds stand for
the four basic human goals:
* Dharma - righteousness
* Artha - monetary accomplishment
* Kama - energy and passion in life
* Moksha - liberation from everything in life.
The groom, signifying his contribution in helping the union to attain
dharma, artha and kama, leads the first three rounds. The bride
signifying their continual journey spiritual liberation leads the last
round.
Saptapadi (seven steps)
The bride and groom take seven steps together around the fire. It is
said in Hindu philosophy that if two people walk seven steps together
then they will remain lifelong friends. They exchange sacred vows at the
beginning of each encircling walk. At the end of each walk, the open
palms of the bride are filled with puffed rice by her brother signifying
wealth and prosperity.
The seven steps and their promises are :
1.Let us take the first step to provide for our household, keeping a
pure diet and avoiding those things that might harm us.
2. Let us take the second step to develop our physical, mental and
spiritual powers.
3. Let us take our third step to increase our wealth by righteous and
proper means.
4. Let us take out fourth step to acquire knowledge, happiness and
harmony by mutual love, respect and trust.
5. Let us take the fifth step so that we may be blessed with strong,
virtuous and heroic children.
6. Let us take the sixth step for self-restraint and longevity.
7. Let us take the seventh step to be true companions and remain
life-long partners by this wedlock.
Saubhagya Chinha (blessing the bride)
The bridegroom blesses the bride by putting kumkum or sindhur (vermilion
powder) at the parting of her hair (or on her forehead) and by giving
her a sacred necklace (Mangal Sutra). The Mangal Sutra represents the
couple's togetherness, love and sacred union.
Haridaya-Sparsha (touching of hearts)
The bride and bridegroom touch each other's heart reciting promises to
each other.
Chathurthi Karma
The bride and groom feed each other four times for nourishment of the
bone, muscle, skin and soul.
Aashirvaad (blessings)
The priest blesses the bride and groom. Flower petals and rice are given
to the guests to shower them on the bride and groom with blessings. The
wedding guests can then give their individuals blessings to the bride
and groom and once completed, the marriage ceremony ends. Guests are
invited to enjoy a sumptuous meal with the newlyweds.
Viddai (Bride's departure)
The farewell to the bride by her family and friends is a very emotional
episode. The bride is leaving her parents home to build a life with her
husband and his family. She leaves with tears of joy and sorrow.
Pilucinchuanu
Before the wedding car departs for the Hindu temple, the priest will
place a coconut under the front wheel of the car and wait for it to be
broken by the weight of the car. The historic significance of this is
that in the old days the couple would use a horse drawn carriage and the
breaking of the coconut ensured that the vehicle was roadworthy for the
journey. The pilucinchuanu concludes the entire ceremony.
Muslim Wedding :
A Muslim Wedding is says to be Nikah in Muslim Language, as it is
commonly known it can be held anytime, as there are no beliefs about
auspicious timings in Islam. The Nikah is conducted by a Maulvi
(Priest). The Maulvi reads selected verses from the Quran and the Nikaah
is complete after the Ijab-e-Qubul (Proposal and Acceptance).
In a Muslim marriage, the mutual consent of the bride and groom is of
great importance for the marriage to be legal. The ceremony concludes
with the marriage contract or the Nikah-nama being signed by the newly
weds and the two witnesses.
Also, on the day of the wedding, two families decide the Amount of Mehar
that is a compulsory amount of money given by the groom's family to the
bride.
Then comes a lavish dinner, after which the couple sit together for the
first time. Their heads are covered by a dupatta while they read prayers
under the direction of the maulvi (priest). The Quran is placed between
the couple and they are allowed to see each only through mirrors.
Post wedding, the groom's family throws a grand reception in the honor
of the bride, which is known as Dawat-e- walima.
Sikh Weddings :
The Sikh marriage is called Anand Karaj. A Sikh Wedding takes place in
the morning with 'Milni', with a meeting of both the groom and bride's
families, where holy shabds (hymns from the Sikh Scripture) are sung.
The bride is dressed in red and wears lots of jewellery, with a veil
over her head, while the groom is dressed in traditional outfit, replete
with a turban.
The marriage ceremony takes place at a congregational gathering in the
holy presence of Guru Granth Sahib. When the morning hymn has been sung,
the groom comes forward and takes his place at the foot of the
Adi-Granth. The bride then joins the congregation and sits at the left
side of the groom. The couple and their parents are asked to stand as an
Ardaas seeking the Blessing of Waheguru for the commencement of the
Anand Karaj is offered.
As the ceremony progresses amongst the hyms, the couple takes four
rounds around the Guru Granth Sahib. The service finally concludes with
the singing of the first five and the last stanzas of the Anand followed
by the Ardas. The congregation is then served Karha Prashad.
Christian Weddings :
A Christian wedding usually, conducted in a Church is a simple ceremony
involving the exchange of wedding bands and marriage vows by the bridal
couple. A Christian bride traditionally wears a white gown, with the
face covered in a white veil, clutching on to a bunch of white flowers,
while the groom is dressed in a conservative suit.
The wedding rituals are conducted along with the holy mass. The priest
commences the procession of reading psalms from the Holy Bible. He then
renders a sermon called Homily, which dwells on the sacredness of the
wedlock and emphasizes on the sanctity of marriage. After the Homily,
the bride and the groom hold each other's right hand and make the solemn
promise of lifelong loyalty. This is followed by Blessing and the
exchange of the wedding rings. The priest then pronounces them man &
wife, with the couple kissing each other.
After the church wedding is over, the couples walk down the aisle, with
the guests throwing confetti at them. A large, lively reception awaits
the newly-weds and the guests and pre-chosen venue.
Arya Samaj Weddings :
An Arya Samaj Wedding is special marriage ceremony that is only
applicable to Hindus, as its founded by Dayanand Saraswati sincerely
believed Hinduism to be the original religion. An Arya Samaj Wedding is
a simple ceremony, minus all the ostentatious display of wealth and
grandeur that characterizes other Hindu marriages.
Solemnized according to Vedic rites, in an Arya Samaj Wedding, the pooja
is not performed to any specific deity, but rather to fire and the other
elements of the universe.
The marriage ceremony is conducted in a peaceful ambience, with the
priests translating the meaning of Vedic chants for the couple. Also
Arya Samaj weddings don't incur too many expenses.
Some of the unique rituals of an Arya Samaj wedding are:
Madhuparka: After the bride and the groom arrive at the venue of the
wedding the groom partakes of 'Madhuparka', a mixture of honey, curds
and cream. The bride gives the groom water three times, which he
sprinkles on his feet, over his body and drinks it the third time.
Similarly, the groom partakes of the 'Madhuparka' three times after
sprinkling it in all directions. The Madhuparka symbolizes the
commencement of their journey into a happy married life.
Shilarohan: The bride's mother places the bride's right foot on a stone,
while the groom chants specified mantras. This symbolizes that just as a
rock is solid, the relationship between the bride and groom would also
be solid and permanent.
Dhruvnakshatra: The Dhruvnakshatra or Polestar is always firm in its
place. The couple looks towards the star as a vow to be always with each
other.
Arundhati Nakshatra: The couple also invoke the blessings of Arundhati
and Vashisht Nakshatras, the two stars that appear as one always,
symbolizing their unity.
Indian Wedding Songs :
Songs are an integral and much enjoyable part of Indian weddings. There
are a whole lot of songs for all important and possible marriage
ceremonies. Interestingly, most of the popular wedding songs are
extremely old and folk in nature and these have not just managed to
retain their distinct charm but are highly popular amongst the new
generation.
Some of the most popular song ceremonies in Indian weddings include
sagai or engagement, ladies sangeet or bridal shower, mehndi and vidai.
Inclusion of songs in these ceremonies make them extremely enjoyable.
Enthusiastic participation of close relatives and family members of the
bride or groom further adds to the joy.
Different regional and linguistic communities in India have devised
their own interesting wedding songs for various ceremonies. Some of
these folk songs, especially Punjabi and Gujarati wedding folk songs are
extremely popular and are sung or played in most Indian weddings.
Several Hindi movie wedding songs are also extremely popular and many of
these have become traditional and must played Indian wedding songs.
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