The Hindu Wedding Ceremony
TriniView.com Staff Article
Event Date: December 17, 2006
The most anticipated day of the wedding celebrations was finally here: the ritualistic Hindu wedding ceremony. This final day of the wedding ceremony, which took place on Sunday 17th December, 2006, was the culmination of several weeks of preparation and planning and it was also the final day that the bride would share a home with her parents and family. On this day she would leave the home that had sheltered her for many years and take residence with the groom and his family to start a new life there.
It was indeed an emotional and busy day for the bride and her family who made the final preparations for the wedding ceremony as well as for the bride's departure. Some family members were teary eyed knowing that this would be the last day that she would reside at their Welcome Road South, Enterprise, Chaguanas residence.
Immediately after we arrived, following the bride's ceremonial rub down and bath, close family members, particularly the household children, gathered in her room to witness the traditional dressing process which is usually quite elaborate. The bride was assisted by a female relative who very skillfully applied her make-up and styled her hair. In addition, she was beautifully adorned with gold jewelry on her neck, hands, ears, nose and head. Finally, a red sheer head veil or 'chaddar' was elegantly draped over her hair and face to match her sari. Traditionally, the bridal gown is either a red or red and white sari. Geeta's choice was a red sari beautifully trimmed with gold.
The bride, as custom dictates, could not be seen before the ceremony, thus, after she adorned herself in all her bridal finery, she remained in her room and waited for the arrival of the bridegroom.
While the bridal party got ready, much activity and excitement was building up outside as the Raghu Boys Village Tassa Drummers entertained the already seated and arriving guests.
At this time, the bride's family and other guests were also entertained with food and drink - a similar menu to the day before consisting of Paratha roti, bhaji, channa, aloo, and curry mango - and chatted about the big event.
The wedding finally began with the 'pokavu' or the arrival of the bridegroom and his entourage. The groom arrived in fine style in a car decorated with balloons and other adornments. Shortly before the scheduled ceremony time, the bridegroom and his family assembled a short distance away from the bride's home. In keeping with tradition, the bridegroom's grand entrance was initiated with Tassa drumming from the bride's side as well as the groom's side. (See video clip of 'Tassa Drumming')
The officiating Pundit, together with family members from the bride and bridegroom's side met halfway on the street, warmly embracing each other by shaking hands and extending hugs symbolizing the union of the two families and the approval of both the father of the groom and an elder male relative of the bride. Welcome Road South, which was fully alive with the thunderous sounds of the united Tassa drums, allowed for the passage of the procession to the ceremony location.
At the entrance of the bride's home, many friends and relatives of the bride waited excitedly for the bridegroom. Before the groom exited the car, he was received by the bride's family and friends with a welcoming ceremony performed by female relatives of the bride. After the brief ritual was performed, the groom was escorted to the mandap (a Hindu wedding altar) with a relative of his holding her shawl over his head.
Soon after the brigegroom's arrival, a short ritual was performed by a relative of the bride in the bride's room. Immediately after the ritual, the bride then left her room accompanied by female relatives to meet her Dulaha outside at the mandap. (See video clip of 'The Groom Meets the Bride')
The actual ceremony, which was conducted by a pundit, was highly ritualistic and involved several elements to make it complete. Some of the rituals included the application of 'tilak' (a red powder dot) by the bride's family to the groom; 'sindur daan', which is when the groom places vermilion (red powder) on the bride's forehead under a sheet; the welcoming of the bride and groom ('jayamala') by garlanding one another with fresh flowers under the mandapa; and the 'madurparka' (rare honor) which is performed by a member of the bride's family by washing his feet and hands.
Also significant in the ritual ceremony was the couple's offering of prayers to the fire, 'mangal fera', which represents God serving as the couple's witness to the marriage. Prayers were also offered by placing ghee, rice, and flowers into the flame.
Near the end of the ceremony, relatives and friends threw rice and flowers on the couple and bestowed best wishes to them. The newlyweds also sought 'ashirvada' or the blessing from the priest and parents by bowing down and touching their feet. The 'hast milap' was then performed where the parents of the bride joined the couple's hands as the couple declared their devotion to each other.
After these rituals were performed, including the signing of the marriage register, the placing of the floral necklace around the couple's neck and chants by the pundit to end the rituals, the bride and the groom officially tied their matrimonial knot and the ceremony was rendered complete.
After other small rituals such as the groom giving his headwear to his mother-in-law, the bride and groom changed their outfits and spent some time in a photo shoot with family and friends. They bride wore white this time around - the dress resembling a western type bridal gown. The bride would again change her outfit on arrival at her new home.
The moment finally came when the bride had to leave her parent's house to go to her new home with the groom. A few tears were shared by the bride as she bid farewell to her parents home but they quickly turned to smiles as she was comforted by her husband and by the thoughts of them having a new life together.
After the bride and groom along with the groom's relatives left, another brief ceremony was held at the groom's home to welcome in the new bride by his mother who did not attend the ceremony as tradition dictates.
Still the party was not over at the bride's former residence as members of her family and friends danced the night away to the sweet sounds of the Tassa music and music courtesy of the house DJ.
A Hindu wedding is considered to be one of the biggest events in a Hindu's lifetime. It marks the beginning of the couple's married life and a complete commitment to each other. Both Geeta and Keshan were happy about making this important step which is a landmark in the Hindu tradition.
A video clip of 'Tassa Drumming':
A video clip of 'The Groom Meets the Bride':
Hindu Wedding Day in pictures:
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