HINDU MARRIAGES

Most of the Hindu marriages conducted in India and
elsewhere are both social and religious functions. There is no
uniformity on their social side. These are based on local customs
and traditions. On the religious side, with minor variations, they
follow some specific rituals that are followed from the Vedas. The
marriage ceremonies are called Vaidika.

Marriage ceremonies last two days, one day prior to the
Muhurtha day and the day on which the actual wedding occurs.
The day previous to the marriage, its customary practice to visit a
nearby temple to offer many prayers. The Lagna Patrika, a
document indicating the details of the BG & Bride and the
timing and place of marriage, signed by the parents of the BG &
Bride, is read out and signed by the two sets of parents. This
serves the purpose of a formal agreement binding on both parties.

The next day ceremonies start with Kasi Yatra, Malai
Maatral and Oonjal (Jhoola). These have no religious
as such. These rituals vary from community to community.

The Kasi Yatra ritual which is peculiar to Brahmin
community is one when the father of the Bride symbolically
weans away the BG from the pursuits of Brahmacharya, which
is symbolically represented by his journey towards Kasi, the seat
of Vedic culture knowledge, and requests him to enter
Grahasthasrama by marrying his daughter.

Oonjal, is a ladies ceremony, where BG & the Bride are
made to sit in a swing and propitiation is done, to ward off the
effect of ?evil eyes? (bad peoples evil thoughts or curses) on the
couple.

The real and important Vedic side of the ceremony starts
after the two rituals are performed. The ceremony begins with the
promise from the bride side to offer the girl in marriage. The bride
than takes a bath in Holy water. Then the two worship their
ancestors. The BG & Bride then garland each other.

This is an important ritual wherein the girl is gifted away to
the BG's family and the Bride loses her family identity completely.
The Brides father makes BG sit in a seat and washes the feet of
BG considering BG to be an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, the
protector. At the time, BG recites a mantra which says:

?Let the holy water which is poured on my feet safeguard me
against all enemies and let me glow in splendour equal to the
Brahma. He then takes a mixed liquid made of honey and curd.?

The Hindu marriage ceremony is very unique and involves
several rituals. The Hindus strongly believe in their gods and their
protection from evil and incur it in their marriage ritual.