Wedding is probably the most auspicious and elaborate event in Indian Hindu families. Marriage is a series of rituals both at the bride and the bride groom’s family and then some events together. It is typically a weeklong event which is reduced to couple of days if time does not permit. This is a personal account of marriage the way it happens in a modern family with traditional roots in a Hindu Bhumihar Brahmin family from Bihar.
There are many rituals but broadly the major ones which are still followed by modern families to this day are:
1. Satyanarayan Pooja: Both parents and the bride and the groom do fasting and the prayers are offered. This happens at both bride and the groom’s house.
2. Haldi: A haldi paste also called uptan, which is made of water and turmeric is applied all over the body. It signifies they are becoming pure and ready for the marriage. It makes skin lustrous and beautiful. It is done at both bride and groom’s house separately.
3. Sohar Songs: Typically these are traditional songs which are sung in the regional language Bhojpuri and they are all wedding songs sung throughout the whole ceremony.
4. Mehndi: Brides hands and legs are decorated with sacred Mehndi. It has not been a typical Bhumihar tradition but some of the families have adopted it because of the beauty of it. I loved it.
5. Kanyadaan: This is one of most emotional and important event for a bride’s family. It is where the bride’s father gives her hand to the groom in marriage. It was very emotional for me.
6. Pani Grahan: This is where the groom accepts the bride’s hand. He puts Sindoor a sacred red colored powder, vermilion in her parting line of hair.
7. Phere: After tying the knot both walk around sacred fire. Mantras are recited and bride and groom promise to take care, respect each other and fulfill their duties to make the married life a happy and prosperous one.
8. Vidai: This is where the bride finally goes to the Groom’s house. It is towards the end of the wedding ceremony. Bride goes to the Groom’s house and the Wedding ceremony completes.
Marriage is very ceremonial event in our family. To this day all the videos and photos are some of the best memories we have of our marriage. We cherished every moment of it.