People’s trust in the institution of marriage is unbreakable irrespective of the country they live in, the religion they follow, and the community they belong to even in the 21st century.
Hindu weddings and a number of ceremonies that took place before, during, and post-wedding represent the exuberance of people celebrating culture-rich festivities. Hindu weddings are intricately planned events that last for days. Relatives play vital roles not just in adding fun and vibrancy to the environment but also in performing rituals.
That’s why Indian weddings, especially Hindu wedding ceremonies, are called intimate events. There is a lot to talk about and enjoy in Indian weddings, however, there is so much more to know about typical north indian hindu marriage ceremonies. Let’s jump into the depth of Hindu pre and post-wedding ceremonies.
List of Hindu Pre and Post Wedding Ceremonies
|Sr.||Hindu Pre Wedding Ceremonies||Hindu Post Wedding Ceremonies|
|1||Roka/Shagun Ceremony||Vidaai Ceremony|
|2||Engagement Ceremony||Dwar Rokai Ceremony|
|3||Mehandi Ceremony||Griha Pravesh Ceremony|
|4||Sangeet Ceremony||Mooh Dikhai Ceremony|
|5||Tilak Or Shagun Ceremony||Reception Ceremony|
|6||Haldi Ceremony||Pag Phera Ceremony|
Common Hindu Pre-Wedding Ceremonies at Groom and Bride Side
There are some common wedding rituals performed at both the groom and bride’s side. Let’s know them one by one and understand their importance and exuberance among families.
1. Roka/Shagun Ceremony
Roka or Shagun is a process of exchanging sweets, fruits, dry fruits, and clothes between a couple’s families. This event marks the consent of both families and the couple about their decision to get married. This ritual is also considered the first official step towards the new beginnings of life. There could be a significant time gap between roka and wedding as people or families do need time to look after several aspects of hindu wedding preparation.
2. BARAKSHA Ceremony
Barakhsa is a ritual when all dear one of the bride’s family, usually male members, gathers and goes to the groom’s home to bless him with gifts such as clothes, sweets, fruits as shagun. The ritual meant that the boy will now be the son in law of the family. In some parts of India, a small puja also takes place with the help of a priest.
This ceremony usually takes place in front of close-knit family members. Traditionally, gold rings and gold chains are offered to the groom by the bride’s family members as a token of love, respect and acceptance in the family.
3. GODBHARAI Ceremony
Just as Baraksha is performed at the groom’s home to bless the groom, Godbharai is a ritual performed to bless the bride from the groom’s family. In this ceremony, all the women from the groom’s family gather and go to the bride’s home and bless her.
A girl’s godbharai means that she is accepted as a daughter in law of the family. Just like Baraksha, a priest is invited to perform the rituals to get the god’s grace for the couple. The ‘to-be bride’ is also adored by gold products like chain or ring or bangles or all from the groom’s family member.
Baraksha and Godbhari are two important pre-wedding ceremonies of a hindu wedding. Earlier, the groom and the bride were not allowed to meet and the rituals are mostly performed by the family members of the couples. As time has changed, and due to time constraints since most of times a couple is engaged into full time jobs, hndu wedding ceremonies has seen significant shift that how these rituals have been done. Let’s get a glimpse of how Baraksha and godhbharai is performed in the 21st century.
4. Engagement or Ring Exchange Ceremony
Instead of organizing two separate ceremonies at two different days in two different locations, families now choose one day with a common venue to host Baraksha and Godbharai. Now we call this day the Ring Exchange or Engagement Ceremony. Unlike western culture, an engagement ceremony in India is celebrated as a public announcement that the two souls have decided to marry each other.
With the acceptance of marriage proposals, a couple come face-to-face and exchange rings in a private event amid close family members of both families.
However, the engagement ring is worn on the index finger just like western culture, but people from the community still practice old traditions of celebrating the event.
A priest is called so that he can perform all the worship that needs to be done for the couple so that they can receive God’s grace before beginning their new life. Gifts are presented to ‘the would-be bride and groom,’ such as sweets, and other gifts, including return gifts to all the guests.
A feast is also thrown with delicious cuisines and sweets. These days, dance performances and couple dances have become highly popular among many families.
5 Hindu Pre-Wedding Ceremonies Starts 5 Days Before The Wedding Day
An Indian wedding is a several day event filled with many rituals and requires all the near and dear ones to participate. The most interesting thing is these rituals start five or seven days before the wedding day based on the auspicious date or subah din (Check Shubha Wedding Muhurat Date in 2022) shared by the priest.
These ceremonies mark the beginning of the wedding days leading up to the actual wedding day. Together it creates excitement and fun filled wedding memories. Let’s get the glimpse of a roller coaster ride of five or seven days pre pre-wedding ceremonies that are considered auspicious, significant, and involve participation of all sorts of people of the society along with extended family.
1. Chakri Matmangra (Ghan Dhareti)
Chakri Matmangra, also known as Ghan Dhareti in some parts of the North Indian states, is marked as the beginning of wedding ceremonies. Seven married women come together to perform the ritual using emery stone by grinding bengal gram.
These bengal gram flour are collected and is used on later days to prepare ubtan or an age-old face/body mask for bride/groom to help them cleanse their body. These women come forward either from the family or from the neighborhood to perform the ritual. After this, all women together play dholak and sing shagun sangeet.
2. Mandap Ceremonies and Writing Lagan
In hindu pre-wedding ceremonies, a Mandap that translates to covered structure with pillars is set up at both the bride’s and the groom’s home. A priest is called to call the significant mantras while setting up Mandap means he invites all the gods and goddesses to sit and enjoy at the wedding home till the weddings get over and shower their blessings to the couples.
The mandap is adorned with floral decorations and bells, and consists of four pillars, symbolizing the four parents who worked hard to raise their children. The mandap is significant to Hindu weddings as it serves as the stage for which guests and family witness the couple wed.
In the same event, Lagna is written by the priest on a paper after which to-be bride and to-be groom are not allowed to step out much from the home till their wedding day.
The same lagna paper is sent later to the groom’s home in time for the tilak ceremony. The dholki and dance celebrations start from Lagan day.
3. Cylmain Ceremony or Mantri Pooja
Ancestors or forefathers hold a crucial place in Indian families even in hindu weddings. Cylmain or mantri pooja is the ceremony when priests send invites to forefathers or ancestors for the wedding as a guest and bestow their blessings to their children and grandchildrens.
This is the ceremony when food is cooked and served to the extended family for the next few days till the wedding day. All the extended family members and guests eat together in the wedding house which is a celebration in itself.
4. Haldi Ceremony
Haldi function is the most fun-oriented ceremony in an Indian wedding. One can find different rituals that happen in various parts of the country in the Haldi ceremony. The thick turmeric paste of Haldi is applied to the bride in the morning before the wedding. In north India and a few other parts of India, the Haldi ceremony happens after the Mehndi night.
Applying haldi brightens the skin by detoxifying the skin of the bride and groom for the big day, and the yellow color indicates purity and glowing health. In some parts of the nation, the bride and groom with all the relatives wear yellow colored dresses on that day.
As per the beliefs, yellow color stands for prosperity and goodwill and invites happiness in newlyweds’ lives.
5. Mehandi Ceremony
Mehndi or Henna represents growth, harmony, and freshness. It is the reason, the mehndi ceremony is held the night before the wedding and is beautifully applied to the hands and legs of the bride. In some families, the groom’s hands are also beautifully filled with henna designs. The purpose behind the ceremony is to wish the couple good health and prosperity.
Not only this, females of the house also apply henna designs on their hands. Earlier, the girls of the family took the responsibility of prep for the ceremony. These days, henna artists are called for the ceremony.
One of the interesting things is that henna artists hide the groom’s name in henna designs applied over the bride’s hands that the groom has to figure out later.
5. Sangeet Ceremony
Sangeet ceremony takes place before or after the Mehndi according to the rituals of different parts of India. Sangeet was initially a part of the engagement, but it is taking place separately nowadays.
All the relatives and guests dance with joy, and every one blesses the groom and bride for their bright married life. The sangeet function is commonly happening in a few parts of north India, but it is slowly expanding its legs over South Indian weddings. Those having a wedding planner will have a perfect sangeet function. The planners arrange dance performances having everyone a part of it.
Groom Side Only Hindu Pre-Wedding Ceremonies
1. Tilak Ceremony
Tilak ceremony generally takes place at the groom’s house, and the elderly male members from the bride side visit the groom’s residence to perform the rituals. Then the bride’s father put kumkum or vermilion on the groom’s head. Also, there are different variations in the tilak ceremony across the country.
However, this is the most commonly witnessed. Usually the bride’s brother performs all rituals. Apart from this, music and dance also takes place in some families.
2. Wedding Day
At the bride’s side, all the preparations begin to welcome guests and the groom for the wedding, but at the groom’s side a number of rituals are followed as said by or performed by generation to generation. Let’s also have a look at these groom’s side wedding ceremonies.
Kua pujan ( Wedding Day Ceremony)
At the time of marriage, the boy and the boy’s mother are worshiped in a nearby temple after the groom sits on the horse. In a soup, 2 earthen balls, skewer rice, turmeric, and batase are kept. The mother worships the well with rice, turmeric and batash, after that the groom makes seven rounds around the well, which means seven rounds.
Picks up a skewer for every circumambulation and puts it in the well. That’s why I keep seven skewers in the soup. The mother then pretends to be angry and threatens to jump into the well. The groom laughs and celebrates the mother and says mother, don’t be angry, I will bring a red daughter-in-law for you.
After that the groom leaves the procession without looking back without looking at his face in the bowl of oil. It’s an old custom and is performed in almost every family the same way narrated here.
Hindu Post-Wedding Ceremonies
Vidai is an emotional moment for the bride and her family. It indicates the end of the wedding function. The bride throws five handfuls of rice grains back to their family to show that she has paid whatever she got from her maternal home. The throwing back of rice doesn’t take place in every part of India.
As the bride leaves her house, father and brothers push the vehicle in which the bride sits to move to be welcomed in a new home, symbolizing a helping gesture of love towards the bride. The post-wedding functions are renowned with different names across the country with the same feelings.
2. Dwar Rokai
The dwar rokai ceremony is commonly happening in northern parts of India. It takes place when the bride comes to the groom’s home after vidai. The sisters block the entry of a newlywed couple to enter into the house and confront the wish of getting gifts from the groom in exchange of allowing him to enter the house with his wife. There is a little light-hearted argument that takes place, and everyone enjoys the moment.
3. Griha Pravesh
After the dwar rokai, the griha pravesh ceremony takes place. The bride is allowed in the house with all respect and joyful hearts. A small arti also takes place. The bride then pushes the jar/kalash full of rice with the right toe and then enters the house. This moment specifies that the family has not only allowed her in, but also accepted her as a family member.
4. Kober Or “find the ring” or “Fishing the ring”
One such awesome and fun-filled post wedding activity is “find the ring” or “Fishing the ring”. Hindus follow their wedding rituals with full enthusiasm and fun. This fun filled ritual is performed by the bride and bridegroom. In this ritual, a ring will be hidden deep inside a thaal or bowl filled with milk, water, Kangnas, flowers, vermilion, and other objects placed in front of the bride and groom.
This thaal is placed by the sister in law of the bride and the couple is asked to find the ring from the thaal. Both the bride and groom are meant to put their hands into the bowl or thaal together and search for the rings by using one hand only.
It is the best of seven series, and the one, whosoever finds the ring four times is announced as the winner of the game. At times the audience also starts prompting cheer whosoever they wish to favor.
5. Mooh Dikhai
Mooh Dikhayi ceremony is the crucial post-wedding affair. The relatives get to see the bride and offer gifts like gold or silver ornaments to her. Especially the groom’s mother offers gold or presents as a token of love and welcome.
6. Reception Ceremony
The reception function is the official introduction of the bride to the groom’s family. A feast is thrown by the groom’s family that welcomes the family of the bride as well as all significant people from the community and neighborhood. These days, music and dance have become a common part of the reception ceremony.
7. Pag Phera
The pag phera takes place after the wedding chaos ends. The bride is taken to her maternal home by her brothers, where she stays there for a few days. After that, the groom visits her at her maternal home to take her wife back to his home.
The couple receives gifts from the bride’s father as shagun. This marks the end of the three-day-long auspicious wedding ceremonies and a new beginning for the couple as married people.
Hindu weddings and their ceremonies are full of rituals, fun, and emotions. It’s a moment where two families form a strong bond. The above-mentioned post and pre-wedding ceremonies in Hindu families may differ from region to region but the joy of celebration and feelings remain the same.
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