Pāṇigrāha: A Holy Matrimony

Filled with lively shades of joy, weeks of preparation and several days of celebration, a Hindu Wedding is a big festival in itself.

Credits: Tenor

‘Pāṇigrāha’ is a Sanskrit term for marriage which holds a spiritual connotation, denoting the union of two souls into a sacred association.

Indian Weddings are packed with festivities. The Circular presents an overview of the various rituals and ceremonies which make Hindu Weddings one of the most celebrated ceremonies in the world. A perfect blend of traditional customs and Bollywood trends – Welcome to a world of Music, Food, Colors, and Chaos! Namaste!

Credits: Giphy (via Youtube)

The preparation begins at least a few months before the Wedding day and gets super intense with each week into the main day. Let’s dive right into the celebrations:

Pre-Wedding Ceremonies

Mehendi

The official commencement of the wedding starts with this Mehendi Ceremony. It is usually held a day or two before the wedding day at the Bride’s place. The hands and feet of the bride are decorated in beautiful Mehendi (also known as Henna) designs.

Credits: Giphy (via Youtube)

(Mehendi/Henna is known for its medicinal use as it provides cooling effects which is helpful for wedding jitters.)

Sangeet

Indians love to sing and dance. The Sangeet (Music) ceremony is usually followed by or at times combined with the Mehendi Ceremony.  Traditionally, it’s mainly celebrated by women of the families, where they sing, dance and play traditional instruments and wedding songs. These days, both the families plan a Sangeet Ceremony together at a venue.

We love to Dance!
Credits: Giphy ( via Youtube)

It is a fun-filled Music Party where both the sides perform (many times dances are choreographed) and rejoice with high-spirited performances, sometimes even a dance face-off!

Most of our Sangeet dancing inspirations come from Bollywood
Credits: Giphy (Via Youtube)




Haldi

Followed by Mehendi and Sangeet, Haldi ceremony is one of the most important pre-wedding ceremonies. It is celebrated by both the families at their respective places before or on the morning of the wedding day. Haldi (Turmeric) is applied on the face, hands, and feet of the Bride and the Groom. Nowadays, many families celebrate it together as well.

Credits: Gfycat

(Along with the religious beliefs attached with it, Turmeric works as an antiseptic and provides blemish-free skin for the Bride and Bridegroom.)


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Wedding Ceremonies 

Baraat                                                                                                                                               

On the day of the wedding, the Groom precedes to the wedding venue with a Baraat, usually on a Mare(and sometimes even on an Elephant).

Credits: Giphy (via Youtube)

The Music Band and the family members of the Groom walk in front of him. They together refer to a Baraat and are called Baraaties. They generally sing and dance to the wedding venue.

Religious Ceremonies

Once the Baraat reaches the venue, the Bride’s Side welcomes the Groom’s Side and they further proceed with the Religious Ceremonies. The first in line is the Varmala where the Bride and the Groom exchange Flower Garlands. It signifies the beginning of their matrimony.

The three main basic rituals which are performed in almost all the regional Hindu weddings are: The Groom puts Sindoor(Vermilion) on his Bride’s hair partition. It is considered sacred and a sign of a married woman. He also puts an auspicious Necklace known as Mangalsutra around her neck which symbolises lifelong togetherness.

Credits: Giphy (via Youtube)

It is further followed by 7 Phere or 7 rounds around the holy fire which represent 7 sacred vows or promises they make to each other.

And they are finally declared – Husband and Wife <3

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Post-Wedding Ceremonies

Vidai

It is the time for the family and friends of the Bride to say Goodbye, in hopes of a great new life for her with her husband and new family. This ceremony is known as Vidai or Bidai.

Credits: Giphy

With teary eyes and hearts filled with emotions, they depart their loving daughter.

Reception

We have reached the end of the wedding, but the celebrations don’t stop. There are some more post-wedding rituals at the Groom’s place. The couple takes blessings from God and the elderlies and further proceed for the Reception. It’s a welcome party for the Bride. An evening filled with meet and greet for the newly-weds.

(Due to regional differences, there could be minor alterations in the way these ceremonies are performed in different regions/cultures of India)

Credits: Tenor
Credits: Tenor

*A quintessential Indian Wedding is incomplete without ‘food’ and ‘dance’. The guests are expected to prep themselves for ‘a lot’ of each.