Hindu marriages is not a marriage of to persons, it is a marriage between two souls and two families as well. It is said that if you are a Hindu and had your marriage according to Hindu rituals then you will get in a bond which stated for seven births. Which means you will be husband and wife for seven births. It is considered as a sacred communication between a man and a woman who might going to spend their whole lives with each other under one shelter. This is an event which is witnessed by whole society. In different parts of the country this ritual vary for example in North India the rituals are bit different from south India. But the similarity is the Mantras and Sath Phere (Seven Rounds) which completes every Hindu marriage.
According to historians hindu marriages are of eight types. This means a Hindu marriage rituals can be performed in eight ways. These saven ways are also named differently like Bharama Marriage, Daiva Marriage, Arsha Marriage, Prajapatya Marriage, Gandharva Marriage, Asura Marriage, Rakshasa Marriage and Paishacha Marriage. From all these types Asura Marriage and Rakshasa Marriage are not performed by normal human being, these are performed by Demons or we can say Asuras. It is written in Hindu holy books Paishacha Marriage is also not performed by normal human being, these rituals are performed by Ghosts. Except these other marriages are performed by common people. Not all the rituals are performed in all types of marriages; it may vary from one marriage type to another. But there are some common rituals which are performed in every type of hindu marriage.
Every Hindu marriage started with a ritual named Kudali Milan with the help of a priest called as Pandit. Kundali is drawn on the bases of the position of the stars at the time of birth of a child. Usually every man and woman who is Hindu by religion must have a Kundali. Kundali Milan is a process in which points to be matched according to the compatibility of stars. The total number of point are 36 and minimum points to be matched are 18. After this Kundali Milan process if no problem found by the priest then priest suggest dates to the families to start the rituals, these dates also known as Shubh Tithis (Good dates).
There is a thing in Hindu religion considered as Shubha (Good) and Ashubha (Evil). When anything happened against the circumstances is known as Ashubh and vice versa. The first ritual Hindu marriage is Mehandi (Heena). Mehandi is a ritual in which hands and feet of the bride are decorated with Heena. Along with bride her friends also apply Mehandi on her hands, sing song and celebrate the day. It is believed that unmarried girls never apply Mehandi on feets, only married girls can. This ritual is also celebrated on Groom’s house as well. Sisters of groom apply Mehandi on groom’s hands as a sign of blessings.
After Mehandi next ritual is Haladi which is a holy bath also known as pithi ceremony. Haldi is mixed with oil and water, this mixture then applied to both bride and groom on the morning of wedding. This mixture is believed to have blessings of Gods. It has properties which added glow to the skin of both bride and groom before their wedding ceremony. In this ritual yellow color plays an important role. Like the color of haldi all people during the ceremony wear yellow clothes and jewelry.
At the time of wedding brides used to wear a Red colored Lehnga and groom used to wear Sherwani along with a Pagari (Turban). Groom used to ride on a stallion. When Barat (Groom and his family) arrives at bride’s house, they are welcomed by the Bride’s family with a ritual named as Milani. Milani ceremony is not done in every Hindu marriage. In this ceremony, Bride’s family offer flower stool to the members of Groom’s family along with some gift as a token of love and respect.
During wedding first ritual which is going to done is known as Varamala. Varmala is a ritual where bride and groom offer each other Flower stools as token of welcome, love and respect. Most important part of hindu marriage are Kanyadan and saat phere. Kanyadaan is a ritual where bride’s father giving away his daughter to groom.
Kanyadan and Saat Phere are done in the front of holy fire. In hindu marriage holy fire is very important, it is believed that through holy fire all the Gods and Goddesses shower their blessings on Bride and groom. Once Bride and Groom sits in the front of Holy fire, all the rituals get started.
First of all ritual of Kanyadan took place. In this Father of the daughter gives her hand in the hands of groom’s hand and ask him to take care of her daughter trough out the whole life in front of holy fire. After this ritual Panigrahana going to be completed. This is ritual where groom takes bride’s hands in his hands as a sign of their union.
At the completion of Panigrahana, its time for Saat Phere. With each Phera Groom gives a promise to bride which he will keep for long life towards her. These vows and promises are in Sanskrit and also translated in the language of Bride and groom by the priest.
In first Phera or round Groom promised that he will provide all the nourishment and food to the bride. He pray god to have him strength to have food.
In second round Groom pray to God for the health and prosperous life for her wife as well as for him. Couple asks for physical, mental and spiritual health for each other.
In third round the couple prays to God to give them strength so that they can make the relationship happy and healthy. They also promised each other to stand by with each other in all situations.
In fourth round the bride and groom pray to god to increase love and respect for each other and their families.
In fifth round bride and groom pray to god for the beautiful, heroic and noble children. They also pray for the good health and future of their future children.
In Sixth round couple ask for their relationship to be peaceful and life long.
In seventh round pray for companionship, togetherness, loyalty and understanding for themselves and their relationship. They asks from god to give them maturity to carry the relationship for as long as possible. The husband says to his new wife that from now they will become friends after the Sat Phere and they will not break their friendship throughout their life.
After exchanging these vows of love, duty, respect, and union the bride and groom will agree to be companions forever. This process of saat phere the couple prays for the peace and well-being of the entire universe with more significance in that.
Hindu marriage is a symbol of sacred union and purity of two different people from the different community and different cultures.