HINDU WEDDING :
- Vara Satkaarah - Reception of the bridegroom and his kinsmen at the entrance gate of the wedding hall where the officiating priest chants a few mantras and the bride's mother blesses the groom with rice and trefoil and applies tilak of vermilion and turmeric powder.
- Madhuparka Ceremony - Reception of the bridegroom at the altar and bestowing of presents by the bride's father.
- Kanya Dan - The bride's father gives away his daughter to the groom amidst the chanting of sacred mantras.
- Vivah-Homa - The sacred fire ceremony ascertaining that all auspicious undertakings are begun in an atmosphere of purity and spirituality.
- Pani-Grahan - The groom takes the right hand of the bride in his left hand and accepts her as his lawfully wedded wife.
- Pratigna-Karan - The couple walk round the fire, the bride leading, and take solemn vows of loyalty, steadfast love and life-long fidelity to each other.
- Shila Arohan - The mother of the bride assists her to step onto a stone slab and counsels her to prepare herself for a new life.
- Laja-Homah - Puffed rice offered as oblations into the sacred fire by the bride while keeping the palms of her hands over those of the groom.
- Parikrama or Pradakshina or Mangal Fera - The couple circles the sacred fire seven times. This aspect of the ceremony legalizes the marriage according to the Hindu Marriage Act as well custom.
- Saptapadi - Marriage knot symbolized by tying one end of the groom's scarf with the bride's dress. Then they take seven steps representing nourishment, strength, prosperity, happiness, progeny, long life and harmony and understanding, respectively.
- Abhishek - Sprinkling of water, meditating on the sun and the pole star.
- Anna Praashan - The couple make food offerings into the fire then feed a morsel of food to each other expressing mutual love and affection.
- Aashirvadah - Benediction by the elders.
Gujarati Marriage Traditions
Gujarati marriages elevate the woman to become her husband's sadharmacharini and is always seen as a partner to him in life's pursuits.
- A ceremony to eliminate evil elements in nature called the Mandap Muhurat is held before the wedding.
On the day of the wedding, the groom is welcomed by the mother-in-law in a ceremony called Pokavu (arrival of the groom). She tries to pinch his nose to remind him playfully that he will have to rub his nose on the door to ask for her daughter. After this the Jaimala (exchange of garlands) takes place. The first Jaimala takes place at the entrance of the wedding hall, symbolizing the couples' formal acceptance of each other. The second Jaimala takes place under the mandap (wedding tent).
- While the groom is sitting under the mandap the 'Madhuparka' is performed where his feet are washed and he is fed milk and honey. The bride is then brought to the mandap by her maternal uncle in a ceremony called Kanyaagaman when the antarpat is lowered so that the couple again exchange garlands (2nd Jaimala).
- Now is the time for the bride to be given away in a ritual known as Kanyadaan or Hasta Milap. Varmala has been added to the wedding ceremony in which the parents and other relatives of the bride place an auspicious cord around the necks of the couple to protect them from evil influences.
- Unlike many other Hindu weddings, there are only four pheras called the Mangalpheras (steps around the sacred fire by the couple) in Gujarati wedding, where the pheras symbolize the four basic human goals of Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha.
- The Sapta Padi or the seven guidelines (vows) for married life, are then recited by the couple while the groom helps the bride touch seven betel nuts with her right toe.
- Once the wedding rituals have been completed, the couple take blessings from their elders by touching their feet.
- After Vidaai or the moment when the parents give away their daughter, the newly weds return to the groom's house.
- The groom's mother then welcomes her daughter-in-law as Ghar-ki-Laxmi.
Punjabi Marriage Traditions
- Once a selected pair is matched (i.e. approval from both families) a date for the roka is fixed. The roka is fixed on the basis of a shubh mahurat(auspicious time) determined by the pundit. The roka ceremony is basically a small get together of the parents, brothers and sisters, of the bride-to be and groom to be. This ceremony takes place at the bride's house. Gifts are exchanged from both the
sides. After the roka, the groom and the bride are considered betrothed to each other. The wedding date is fixed after this ceremony.
- Among the pre-wedding ceremonies 'sagan' is the most important ceremony. It is fixed on a day, close to the wedding day, so that the relatives from both sides are present. The ceremony usually takes place at the groom's house. The bride's father applies tikka on the groom's forehead who takes blessing from the bride's family members. Gifts are given to the groom and his family from the bride's side.
- Another occasion is the chunni chandana ceremony, where the groom's parents and relatives visit the bride's house. The bride dressed in clothes brought by the groom's family and the groom's sisters or bhabhi meets the bride first and present her a red chunni. The venue starts where the bride's future mother gives her gifts and jewellery. She even gives the bride a shagoon consisting of boiled rice and milk. Then the groom and the bride exchange rings.
- After Sagan on ever night till wedding day, the friends and relatives get together for singing and dancing at both the houses. One day may be marked ear for the main sangeet session wherein they meet each other's family member and friends.
- Traditionally, mehandi (hena) was applied to the bride only after the chuda ceremony. The occasion involves the application of mehandi on the bride's hand and feet, accompanied with singing dancing and rejoining by relatives and friends. The groom's family, as part of the kwardhoti ceremony sends the mehandi.
- Vatna (mixture of turmeric powder and mustard oil) is applied on some parts of the bride's body by her relatives and friends. It is believed that the application of the uptan purifies the bride. This is done before her bath.
- The wedding ceremonies begin with the Chuda ceremony. The bride's maternal uncle (mama) plays the pivotal role. Her maternal family members give the wedding dress. The ceremony begins with a hawan performed by the pundit. The oldest mama and mami keep a fast till chuda. Often the bride's parents keep a fast the whole day till the 'laawan' ceremony. The chuda (a set of cream and red ivory bangles) is not
shown to the bride before the ceremony.
- After the ceremony the bride's mama and mami also tie the kalivas (dangling golden metal plates). The belief goes that just at the time of departure of the doli, when the friends and cousins are bidding the bride goodbye, she is supposed to hit one of them with her kaliras, the lucky one will get married next.
- The bride's dress essentially consist of bright auspicious colors like red, orange and magenta, the groom may dress up in a formal suit or a achkan safari suit, preferably of light color. A small cousin wearing a similar outfit who is called sarbala , accompanies the groom on the mare. The sarbala is to be the groom's protector.
- The groom too, is applied a mixture of turmeric and oil (uptan) by his sisters and bhabhi. His maternal uncle plays an important role in the ceremonies at home. Sherabandi' is one of the important rituals before the groom leaves the bride's house. The groom's father or an elderly relative is responsible for tying the sehra on his head. All relatives first touch a pink color turban before being tied. The shera is tied over the pagdi(turban).
- As the groom leaves home on the mare, his bhabhi put's surma (kajal) in his eyes and his cousins and sister feed the mare with "chane ki dal ". While the sisters perform all these ceremonies, the mother of the groom and other elderly relatives keep small amount of money separately for the varna from time to time in order to protect the groom from evil eyes or bad omens.
- The Milni is a formal introduction of the close relatives of the groom and bride to each other. Normally, milni of only a specific odd number of males take place. The main feature of the milni is presenting of shagoon to the groom's relatives by the bride's relatives. It is only after the milni is over that the bride's brother helps the groom down from the mare.
Another interesting ritual is that of varmala wherein the bride and groom exchange garlands. The bride must garland the groom first. Traditionally, the bride, the groom and the bride's parents are supposed to fast till the wedding ceremony is over.
- As the time for the wedding mahurat approaches, the groom is led to the vedi where the pundit performs the Puja. The groom recites the first few mantras. At this time the bride's sisters make a grab for the groom's shoes (Juta Chepai) which is later exchanged for a negotiable sum from the groom. Then the groom and the bride, with their parents, perform the Puja.
- The bride's father puts a ring on the grooms finger before he places his daughter in her husbands care, this is called kanyadaan . The pheras begin after the kanyadaan. The groom's sister ties the bride's sari to the groom's pagdi. At one end of the chunni, a small knot containing meva, chuara, mishri, badam and silver coin is tied.
- After this the couple is taken inside and given milk and sweets. This is followed by Doli / Vidaai. In early days, brothers used to carry their sisters in a doli(palanquin) to her in-laws place but now-a-days this doli is replaced by a car(still called doli).
- The next day the bride returns to her paternal home with her husband and brother( who had accompanied her with the doli). Usually a feast is organised for the newly weds on this day and they are given sweets and gifts.