So, I was away from WordPress and blogging for a couple of weeks. While I missed the cornucopia of posts of my blogger friends, I was actually celebrating one of the most precious occasions of my life, my sister’s wedding.
Well, as my Indian readers know, Indian weddings start a week before the auspicious day and, the celebration continues for another seven days post-wedding. It’s a family get-together in the largest scale where all the relatives from both the bride and groom’s sides join and enjoy to the fullest accompanied by music, dance, delicious cuisines and traditional rituals.
So, it started with a music session where the bride, bridesmaid and every other woman present use mehndi or henna to make designs on their hands. Mehndi is a paste created from the powdered leaves of henna plants (Lawsonia inermis). A Mehndi artist attended the ceremony and wonderfully made intricate designs on our hands. The arabesque patterns made on the bride’s hands were fascinating.
We, Bengalis, have another ritual where we apply a paste of turmeric and milk to the bride and the groom. According to the Vedic custom, turmeric is considered as a plant representing the sun and, application of the paste symbolizes good luck to the couple. Every single rite and ritual has a meaning of its own and is performed with austerity and tradition.
Of all the customs and rituals of Hindu marriage, perhaps the most important are the Sanskrit mantras (chants) and the Seven Vows (Saptapadi in Sanskrit) taken in front of the sacred fire. On the marriage day itself, in presence of a priest, family, all the relatives and guests, the bride and the groom make seven promises to each other taking seven steps together encircling the sacred fire. All along, they say the ‘mantras’ and asks the Gods and Goddesses to bless them with food, strength, fidelity, progeny, wealth, comfort and health.
The ritual of applying vermillion or sindoor daan (a symbol of married Hindu women) is then followed. The groom applies the vermillion on the bride’s forehead for the first time chanting the mantra,
तदस्तु हृदयं मम ।
यदिदं हृदयं मम
तदस्तु हृदयं तव ॥
Loosely translated as, “The heart of thine shall be mine, and this heart of mine shall be thine.”
The bride and groom, after this, exchange the wedding rings and all the guests present, wish them. This ring-exchange ceremony often happens a day before marriage in some families.
Now, at this moment, my sister and brother-in-law are on their honeymoon to Egypt. My sister has promised me to write a guest post for my blog on her trip. So, stay tuned for that.
I’ve missed a lot of posts during the time. I’ll soon catch up with you all. #HappyBlogging