The wedding ceremony will begin by worshiping Lord Ganesh, the destroyer of all obstacles, in a ceremony called Ganesh Pooja. The priest will guide the parents of the bride and groom in offering flowers, sweets and prayer to Lord Ganesh. Then the Graha Shanti is then performed by the parents of the bride and groom under the Mandap. It is a prayer to the nine planets of our solar system, to bless the bride and groom with inner strength, courage and peace of mind.
ere comes the bride!! The priest will shout ‘Kanya padharo sawdhaan’ and the bride enters the hall escorted to the mandap by her maternal uncle, signifying that the bride’s maternal side approves of the union. Once the bride approaches the mandap, the bride and groom exchange floral garlands, in a ritual called Jai Mal, signifying their acceptance of one another.
The couple will then sit under the Mandap and the bride’s father will pour sacred water in his daughter’s hand and places her hand in the groom’s hand, officially giving away his most precious gift to the groom (Kanyadaan). The groom’s sister or cousin then will tie the end of the groom’s scarf to the bride’s sari with betelnuts, copper coins and rice, symbolizing unity, prosperity and happiness. The knot represents the eternal bond of their marriage.
The priest will then light the sacred Agni (fire) in a ceremony called Vivah. The Agni symbolizes the divine presence as a witness of the ceremony. Commitments made in the presence of Agni are made in the presence of God.
The couple will then walk around the sacred Agni seven times (mangal phere) keeping in mind the four aspirations in life: Dharma (duty to each other, family and God), Artha (prosperity), Karma (energy and passion) and Moksha (salvation). The bride, representing divine energy, will lead the groom in the first three rounds, while the groom leads in the last four rounds, signifying balance and completeness.
In some cultures, the bride and groom walk around the fire four times, with the bride leading in the first three rounds, and the groom leading in the final round. After each round the bride’s brother will place rice grains in her hands to signify his promise to always support and protect her in times of need. Once the couple has completed the four rounds, there’s a race to see who will sit down first. It is said that whoever sits down first will rule the house (wear the trousers in the relationship).
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