Make your own free website on Tripod.com

UNDER CONSTRUCTION

As I get time, I will describe the core part of the actual marriage rituals on this page. Before I could complete it, I found a page with far more details on the web.

Bengali wedding ceremony

In a typical bengali setting, there is a traditional form of engagement called ‘firm seeing’ (পাকা দেখা). The days leading up to the marriage see the benediction (আশির্বাদ) and the bridal feast (আই বুড়ো ভাত) before the mariage. The ancestors of both the bride and the groom are worshipped (বৃদ্ধি): a small pitcher (ঘট) with mango leaves (আম্রপল্লব) on a decorated (আলপনা) floor and a tray containing the offerrings (বরণডালা) standing witness.

On the day of the mariage, some married women accompany the bride and the groom, at their respective residences, to the water treated as a symbol of the divine ganges, and bring back the water. The bride and groom are then fed yoghurt and parched rice (দধিমঙ্গল), sometimes preceded by fish and rice. The wedding seats (পিড়ি) are decorated and brought to the site of marriage. The bride wears a paste of turmeric (গায়ে হলুদ) when the groom's gifts, including saris, sweets, yoghurt, betel leaves, holy grass, and rice, reach her. The groom's family is also responsible for gifts, on a brass plate. to the bride's family (অধিবাস তত্ব). Kuber (কুবের), the demigod of wealth is then offerred metal glasses full of uncooked rice in various forms.

After the afternoon bath, the bride is made to wear the shell (শাঁখা) and red (পলা) bangles as symbols of marriage by seven married women. She then dresses herself in finery including a headdress (মুকুট). She makes designs on her face with sandalwood paste (চন্দন) and carries a small wooden box (গাছকৌটো) and a metal holder কাজললতা) for lamp black to color her eyes.

The husband also gets new clothes from relatives (পট্ট বস্ত্র) and wears them as he goes to the bride's place to marry. The start and end of this journey is accompanied by sounds of conch-shell (শাঁখ) and by ullulation (উলুধ্বনি). He is then welcomed by an elder relative with the tray from the worship (বরণডালা), and then offered refreshments.

The bride is then given to the groom (সম্প্রদান) and their hands tied with a sacred thread. The main part of the vedic rituals then take part in front of a fire: the bengali wedding has special offerrings (অঞ্জলি) into the fire in this part. The bride and the groom also exchange flower garlands (মালাবদল), and they look at each other for the first time (শুভদৃষ্টি) when their seats are held up in the air by relatives. Very important to bengalis, at the end of the other rituals, the groom places vermillion (সিঁদুর) on the bride's forehead: the shell and lac bangles, an iron bangle for protection, jewellery, and the vermillion in the parting of her hair are everlasting symbols of a living husband. A new sari may then be used to cover her head and face, and the marriage is considered complete.

No bengali ceremony can be complete without a feast: that soon follows. The groom is then surrounded by the bride's relatives with demands and the night is spent with songs, poetry recitals, and other cultural activities by close friends and family members (বাসর)., Next morning (বাসি বিয়ে) the groom places vermillion on the bride's forehead while looking at her in a mirror, and then they worship the sun god.

Finally the bride takes leave (বিদায়) of her family and goes to the husband's place. The groom's sisters now make demands of him to let her in to the family. Satisfied, they accept her by ceremoniously pouring water and the his family hold a tray full of milk and a lac dye (দুধে আলতা) under her feet and the impression of her feet marks her entrance into the house. She is then blessed by the elders.

When she cooks her first meal for the family, she eats with them (বউ ভাত), again followed by a feast, The bride and the groom then adorn new clothes which arrive with sweets from the bride's house. They spend the night in a bed decorated with flowers (ফুলশয্যা).

This is the last of the wedding ceremonies, the only remaining one is the first return (দ্বিরাগমন) of the husband and bride to her home at which the priest cuts the sacred protective thread that had been placed around her wrist.

She finally becomes an integral part of the husband's family: and her struggle for dominance against her sister-in-laws and her mother-in-law fills volumes of literature.

Vedic wedding ceremony

The hindu wedding ceremonies in different parts of India differ in the details, but the core is formed by a set of rituals going back several thousand years.

Asking for the bride

The ceremony of marriage technically starts with the bridegroom asking the elders of his tribe to intercede with the bride's relatives:

  pra' su'gma'ntA dhiYasAna'sya sakSa'Ni 
           vare'bhir varA'abhi' Su' prasI'dataH |
  asmA'kam i'ndra ubha'YaM jujoSati
           ya't somya'syA'ndhaso bu'bodhati || Rgveda 10-32-1
  

This couplet by kavaSa ailuSa in the jagatI (4x12 syllables) meter is from a hymn for the vishvedevA.

The second asks the gods to make this easy.

  anRkSarA' Rja'vaH santu pa'nthA 
             ye'bhiH sa'khAYo Ya'nti no vareYa'm |
  sa'm aryamA' sa'm bha'go no ninIYAt 
             sa'M jAspatya'M suYa'mam astu devAH || Rgveda 10-85-23 
  

This couplet by sUryasAvitR in triSTup (4x11 syllables) meter means ‘Thornless and straight be the paths by which by which friends go for us to ask in marriage; together Aryaman, together Bhaga, lead us; Oh gods, together fatherhood easily guided be.’

The bride's parents accede to the request of the elders and gives his word (vAkdAnam).

The betrothal

The bride's father entertains the bridegroom as his guest of honour in the traditional way: He seats the bridegroom facing east and washes his feet of the dust from the journey, and offers him a mixture of yogurt, honey, and clarified butter (madhuparka). After this, he offers his daughter in marriage (kanyAdAnam).

The first look

Next, the bride looks at the bridegroom (varaprekSaNam), according to tradition, for the first time. The bridegroom prays for her to be good and beautiful:

   a'ghoracakSur a'patighny edhi shivA' pashu'bhyaH suma'nAH suva'rcAH |
   vIrasU'r deva'kAmA syonA' sha'M no bhava dvipa'de sha'M ca'tuSpade || Rgveda 10-085-44 ||

The purification

The bride is bathed with ritual invocations of the Gods to purify her for married life (maGgalasnAnam). She then wears her marriage clothes. The bridegroom ties a rope made from darbha grass around her waist and leads her to the sacred fire, and they sit on a sacred mat. The groom asks the Gods to give her strength, beauty, and youth.

Auspicious thread

Different parts of India have different symbols held by women to indicate their married status: in parts where this is a necklace, this is tied by the groom (mAGgalyadhAraNam) at this stage.

   mAGgalyam tantunAnena mama jIvana hetunA |
   kaNThe badhnAmi subhage! saJjIva sharadaH shatam ||
   

Holding hands

The first of the central acts of the hindu marriage ritual follows: the groom holds the right fist of the bride in his right hand (pANigrahaNam), and prays for long life, progeny, prosperity, and harmony.

The seven steps

This is followed by the second central act of the ritual: leading the bride around the fire clockwise to take seven steps. For each step he bends down, takes the right big toe of the bride and leads her forward, praying to the gods.

   sakhA sapta...puMse putrAYa
   

Legally this ceremony defined marriage under the Hindu marriage act.

The blessings from God

After this, the couple sit facing eastward towards the fire, and invoke the Gods for blessings (pradhAnahomam)

   ...dashAsyAm putrAn dehi patim ekAdasham kRti...
   

Bride given charge

At this point the groom holds the right toe of the bride and puts it on a grinding stone to the right of the fire, and tells her to take charge of the new household.

Offerring to the Gods

The bride then receives parched rice from her brothers, topped with clarified butter from the groom, in her cupped hand, and offers it to the Gods (lAjahomam) by dropping it in to the fire. She asks for long and happy marital life. The husband reties the darbha rope around her waist.

Entering the house

The couple depart for the bride's house and pray for a safe journey. The husband carries the sacred fire for the hearth in an earthen vessel. He makes the bride the mistress of his house and tells her of her importance in the new family. She enters (gRhapraveSam) right foot first and prays for children, righteousness, prosperity, and piety.

Establishment of the hearth

The marriage ceremony ends with the couple performing the first major ceremony in the new household (prAviSyahomam): establishing the sacred fire. They ask for strength and nourishment in performing the familial duties for years to come. The wife then shifts from the right to the left and asks for children and wealth to fulfill her obligations.

Finish

A child is then placed on the lap of the wife, who offers it a fruit. The assembled guests are asked to bless the bride and retire safely. At night, guided by the husband, the wife looks up at the steady stellar couple: the pole star (dhruva) and the one next to it—his chaste wife and ever-companion (arundhati) while the husband asks for strenth and stability, and tells the wife the story of arundhati.

Incomplete text

anuvAka 8 RSi sUryAsAvitrI RSikA

soma:
 anuStup (4x8):

 satye'no'ttabhitA bhU'miH sU'rYeNo'ttabhita dyauH |
 Rte'nAdityAs tiSThanti divi' so'mo a'dhi shrita'H || 1 ||
 so'menAdityA' bali'naH so'mena pRthivi' mahI' |
 a'tho na'kSatrANAm eSA'm upa'sthe so'ma A'hitaH || 2 ||
 so'mam manyate papivA'n ya't sampiMSa'nty o'Sadhim |
 so'mam ya'm brahmA'No vidu'r na' ta'syAshnAti ka'sh cana' || 3 ||
 Accha'ddhidhAnair gupito' bA'hataiH soma rakSita'H |
 grA'vNam i'c chRNva'n tiSThasi na' te ashnAti pA'rthivaH || 4 ||
 ya't tvA deva prapi'banti ta'ta A' pyAYase pu'naH |
 vAYu'H so'masya rakSitA' sa'mAnAm mA'sa A'kRtiH || 5 ||

sUryAvivAha:

  anuSTup:

  rai'bhy AsId anude'YI nArashaMsI' nyo'canI |
  sUryA'YA bhadra'm i'd vA'so gA'thayaiti pa'riSkRtam || Rgveda 10-85-6 ||
  ci'ttir A upaba'rhaNam ca'kSur A abhya'Jjanam |
  dyau'r bhU'miH ko'sha A'sId ya'd a'YAt sUryA' pa'tim || 7 ||
  sto'mA Asan pratidha'YaH kurI'raM cha'nda opasha'H |
  sUryAYA ashvi'nA varA'gni'r AsIt purogava'H || 8 ||
  so'mo vadhUYu'r abhavad ashvi'nAstAm ubhA' varA' |
  sUryA' ya't pa'tye sha'MsantIm ma'nasA savitA'dadAt || 9 ||
  ma'no asyA a'na AsId dyau'r AsId uta' chadiH |
  shukrA'v anaDvA'hAv AstAM ya'd a'YAt sUryA' gRha'm || 10 ||
  RksAmA'bhyAm abhi'hitau gA'vau te sAmanA'v itaH |
  shro'traM te cakre' AstAM divi' pa'nthAsh carAcAraH || 11 ||
  shu'cI te cakre' yAtyA' vyAno' a'kSa A'hataH |
  a'no manasma'YaM sUryA'rohat praYatI' pa'tim || 12 ||
  sUryA'YA va'hatuH prA'gAt savitA' ya'm avA'sRjat |
  adhA'su hanyante gA'vo' $rjunyoH pa'yra' udyate || 13 ||

  triSTup:

  ya'd ashvinA pRccha'mAnAv a'yAtaM tricakre'Na vahatu'M sUryA'YAH |
  vi'shve devA' a'nu ta'd vAm ajAnan putra'H pita'rAv avRNIta pUSA' || 14 ||

  anuSTup:

  ya'd a'yAtaM shubhas patI vareYa'm sUryA'm u'pa |
  kvai'kaM cakra'M vAm AsIt kva' deSTrA'Ya tastathuH || 15 ||
  dve' te cakre' sUrye brahmA'Na RtuthA' viduH |
  a'thai'kaM cakra'M ya'd gu'hA ta'd addhAta'Ya i'd viduH || 16 ||

devagaNa:
  anuSTup:

  sUryA'yai deve'bhyo mitrA'Ya va'ruNAYa ca |
  ye' bhUta'sya pra'cetasa ida'M te'bhyo $karaM na'maH || 17 || 

somArka:
  jagatI:

  pUrvApara'M carato mAYa'Yaitau' shi'shU krI'l.antau pa'ri yAto adhvara'm |
  vi'shvAny anyo' bhu'vanAbhica'STa RtU'anyo' vida'dhaj jAYate pu'naH || 18 ||

candramA
  triSTup:

  na'vo navo bhavati jA'YamAno' $hnAM ketu'r uSa'sAm ety a'gram |
  bhAga'm deve'bhyo vi' dadhAty AYa'n pra' candra'mAs tirate dI'rgham A'YuH || 19 ||


vaivAhikamantra AshirvAda:

  triSTup:

  sukiMshuka'M shalmali'M vishva'rUpaM hi'raNyavarNaM suvR'taM su'cakram |
  A' roha sUrye amR'tasya loka'M syona'm pa'tye vahatu'M kRNuSva || Rgveda 10-85-20 ||
  u'd IrSvA'taH pa'tivatI hy e'SA' vishvA'vasu'M na'masA gI'rbhi Il.e |
  anyA'm iccha pitRSa'daM vya'bhAM sa' te bhAgo' janu'SA ta'sya viddhi || 21 ||

  anuSTup:

  u'd IrSvA'to vishvAvaso na'masel.A mahe tvA |
  anyA'm iccha prafarvyaM' sa'M jAYA'm pa'tyA sRja || 22 ||

  triSTup:

  anRkSarA' Rja'vaH santu pa'nthA ye'bhiH sa'khAYo Ya'nti no vareYa'm |
  sa'm aryamA' sa'm bha'go no ninIYAt sa'M jAspatya'M suYa'mam astu devAH || 23 ||
  pra' tvA muJcAmi va'ruNasya pA'shAd ye'na tvA'badhnAt savitA' sushe'vaH |
  Rta'sya yo'nau sukRta'sya loke' $riSTAM tvA saha' pa'tyA dadhAmi || 24 ||

  anuSTup:

  pre'to' muJcA'mi nA'mutaH subaddhA'm amu'tas karam |
  ya'theYa'm undra mIDhvaH suputrA' subha'gAsati || 25 ||

  triSTup:

  pU'SA tveto' naYatu hastagR'hyAshvi'nA tvA pra' vahatAM ra'thena |
  gRhA'n gaccha gRha'patnI ya'thA'so vashi'nI tva'M vida'tham A' vadAsi || 26 ||

  jagatI:

  iha' priYa'm praja'YA te sa'm RdhyatAM asmi'n gRhe' gA'rhapatyAYa jAgRhi |
  enA' pa'tyA tanva'M sa'M sRjasvA'dhA ji'vrI vida'tham A' vadAthaH || 27 ||

  anuSTup:

  nIlalohita'm bhavati kRtyA'sabhi'r vy a'jyate |
  e'dhante asyA jJAta'YaH pa'tir bandhe'Su badhyate || 28 ||

vadhUvAsa saMsparS'anindA:

   anuSTup:

   pa'rA dehi shAmulya'm brahma'bhyo vi' bhajA va'su |
   kRtyai'SA' paddha'tI bhUtvy A' jAYA' vishate pa'tim || Rgveda 10-85-29 ||
   ashrIrA' tanU'r bhavati ru'shatI pApa'YAmuYA' |
   pa'tir ya'd badhvo' vA'sasA sva'm a'Ggam abhidhi'tsate || 30 ||

damaptIyakSamanAshana:

   anuSTup:

   ye' vadhva'sh candra'M vahatum yakSmA ya'nti ja'nAd a'nu |
   pu'nas tA'n yajJi'YA devA' na'Yantu ya'ta A'gatAH || Rgveda 10-85-31 ||

sUryAsAvitrI
   anuSTup:
   mA' vidan paripanthi'no ya' AsI'danti da'mpatI |
   suge'bhir durga'm a'tItAm a'pa drAntv a'rAtaYaH || 32 ||
   sumaGgalI'r iYa'M vadhU'r imA'm same'ta pa'shyata |
   sau'bhAgyam asyai dattvA'yA'thA'staM vi' pa'retana || 33 ||

   urobRhatI:
   tRSTa'm eta't ka'Tukam eta'g apASTha'vad viSA'van nai'ta'd a'ttave | 
   sUryA'M yo' brahmA' vidyA't sa' i'd vA'dhUYam arhati || 34 ||

   anuSTup:
   Asha'sanaM visha'sanam a'tho adhivika'rtanam |
   sUryA'YAH pashya rUpA'Ni tA'ni brahmA' tu' shundhati || 35 ||

   triSTup:
   gRbhNA'mi te saubhagatvA'Ya ha'stam ma'YA pa'tyA jara'daSTir ya'thAsaH |
   bha'go aryamA' savitA' pu'raMdhir ma'hyaM tvA'dur gA'rhapatyAYa devA'H || 36 ||
   tA'm puSAJ chiva'tamAm e'raYasva ya'syAm bI'jam manuSyA va'panti |
   yA' na Uru' ushatI' vishra'YAte ya'syAm usha'ntaH praha'rAma she'pam || 37 ||

   anuSTup:
   tu'bhyam a'gre pa'Yr avahan sUryA'M vahatu'nA saha' |
   pu'naH pa'tibhyo jAYA'M dA' agne praja'YA saha' || 38 ||
   pu'naH pa'tnIm agni'r adAd A'YuSA saha' va'rcasA |
   dIrghA'Yur asyA ya'H pa'tir jI'vAti shara'daH shata'm || 39 ||
   so'maH prathamo' vivide gandharvo' vivida u'ttaraH | 
   tRtI'Yo agni'S Te pa'tis turI'Yas te manuSyajA'H || 40 ||
   so'mo dadad gandharvA'Ya gandharvo' dadad agna'Ye |
   raYi'm ca putrA'Msh cAdAd agni'r ma'hyam a'tho imA'm || 41 ||
   ihai'va stam mA' vi' yauSTaM vi'shvam A'yur vy a'shnutam |
   krI'l.antau putrai'r na'ptRbhir mo'damAnau sve' gRhe' || 42 ||

   jagatI:
   A' naH prajA'm janaYatu prajA'patir AjarasA'Ya sa'm anaktv aryamA' |
   a'durmaGgalIH patiloka'm A' visha sha'M no bha'va dvipa'de sha'M ca'tuSpade || 43 ||


   triSTup:
   a'ghoracakSur a'patighny edhi shivA' pashu'bhyaH suma'nAH suva'rcAH |
   vIrasU'r deva'kAmA syonA' sha'M no bhava dvipa'de sha'M ca'tuSpade || 44 ||

   anuSTup:
   imA'M tva'm indra mIDhvaH suputrA'M subha'gAM kRNu |
   da'shAsyAm putrA'n A' dhehi pa'tim ekAdasha'M kRdhi || 45 ||
   samrA'jJI shva'shure bhava samrA'jJI shvashrvA'm bhava |
   na'nAndari samrA'jJI bhava samrA'jJI a'dhi devRSu || 46 ||
   sa'm aJjantu vi'shve devA'H sa'm A'po hR'daYAni nau |
   sa'm mAtari'shvA sa'M dhAtA' sa'm u de'STrI dadhAtu nau || 47 ||