Jaimala (Exchange of Garlands)The ritual of exchanging garlands between couplesis called Jaimala. It is an act ofaccepting one another and a pledge to respect one another as partners.
Madhupak (Offering of Yogurt and Honey)
The bride’s father offers yogurt and honey to thebridegroom asan act of welcome and respect.
Kanyadan (Giving Away of the Bride)
Kanyadan is the ritual of giving away the daughter to the groom wherein the father of the bride places her hand in the groom’s hand and asks him to accept her as an equal partner in his life. It is believed that the bride is a form of Goddess Lamxi, while the groom is a form of Lord Narayan and the parents are bringing the two together through marriage.
Havan (Lighting of the Sacred Fire)
Through incantation, the couple invokes Agni, the God of Fire, to bear testimony to their commitment to each other. Often sandalwood, herbs, sugar rice and oil are offered to the ceremonial fire.
Rajaham (Sacrifice to the Sacred Fire)
This ritual involves the bride placing both her hands into the groom’s and her brother then putting some rice into her hands. Together the bride and groom offer the rice as a sacrifice into the fire
Gath Bandhan (Tying of the Nuptial Knot)
Gath Bandhan or the tying of the nuptial knot shows that the bride and the groom have been tied in this eternal bond and that they would love each other and remain faithful to each other.
Mangalphera (Walk Around the Fire)
Mangalphera is the ritual of taking four pheras around the ceremonial fire in a clockwise direction, led by the bride, symbolizing her strong resolve to stand by her husband through good and bad times. She is followed by her husband. The four pheras stand for the four goals in an individual’s life – namely, Dharma, religious and moral duties; Artha, prosperity; Kama, earthly pleasures and Moksha, meaning spiritual salvation and liberation.
Saptapardi (Seven Steps Together)
The bride and the groom take seven steps together to signify the beginning of their journey through life together. Each of the seven steps stands for a vow of marriage. The first step is to respect and honour each other, the second steps is to share each other’s joy and sorrow, the third step is to trust and be loyal to each other, the fourth step is to appreciate knowledge, values, sacrifice and service, the fifth step is to reconfirm the couple’s vow of purity, love, family duties and spiritual growth, the sixth step is to follow the principles of Dharma or righteousness and the seventh and the final step is to nurture an eternal bond of friendship and love.
Jalastnchana (Blessing of the Couple)
Jalastnchana is a ritual of blessing the couple by sprinkling rose water on the bride and the groom by each set of parents, that is parents of the bride as well as that of the groom.
Sindhoor (Red Powder)
The vermillion red power is applied on the forehead of the bride by the groom welcoming her as his partner for life.
Aashirvad (Parental Blessing)
The parents of the bride and groom bless the couple and the couple touches the feet of their parents as a sign of respect.
Mehandi (Henna Ceremony)
It is a traditional ceremony involving the application of heena or mehandi in an intricate designs on the hands and feet of the bride. The mehandi is obtained by making a paste of the finely ground leaves of the heena plant. Mehandi ceremony is usually a private ceremony organized by the family of the bride and is held just before the wedding.
Mangalasutra (Thread of Goodwill)
Mangalsutra is a sacred necklace tied around the bride’s neck by the groom, symbolizing that she is now his wife and life partner.