Who doesn’t love the Big Fat Indian Weddings? It’s a maddening and fun-filled roller coaster. The excitement in the air, a hundred different delicacies to gorge on, the sound of chores and people frantically running around in panic mode like there’s no tomorrow. Everything is extravagant and ceremonious; everything is like a dream.
However, the most important aspect of Indian Weddings, given its mythological roots, is the sanctity of rituals. Marriage is a holy union of two souls blessed by divinity and humanity. Even though there is regional, religious, cultural and traditional diversity in India, the common thread that remains in Hindu weddings are the vows. The seven vows taken around the Agni are the most important ritual of Vedic Indian weddings, representing the promises sworn by the bride and groom. With each step in the seven steps, they throw small bits of puffed rice into the fire, representing prosperity in their new life together. Why seven and not two or three? This is because Hindus believe that once married the couple is bound with each other for seven birth cycles. Such is the depth and intensity of faith in the institution of marriage.
The Kasi Yatra and Kanya Dhaan are also an important aspect of many Indian rituals. The Kasi Yatra is performed as a story, the groom pretends to have a change of heart. Instead of marrying the bride, he would rather go to Kasi and become a sanyasi. The father of the bride then has to persuade him to come back and marry his daughter – what all does it take to lure the groom back? There are props like a decorated umbrella with flowers and a book of Bhagavad Gita in case of Tamil wedding, and in the case of Telegu rituals, there are betel nuts, betel leaves, a coconut, sandalwood stick, coconut, red pumpkins and more.
If wedding rituals can be as detailed, then so are the pre-wedding rituals! The wedding rituals of the Telugu wedding commences a day before the marriage with Pendlikoothuru in which friends and relatives apply the paste of turmeric on the hands, feet, arms, legs, and face of the bride and the groom and bless them as they gear up for their big day. Candid wedding photographers capture those wedding rituals and create a memory in the form of albums.
Post-wedding rituals are as significant as the wedding itself. There is a grihapravesha where the bride is escorted to her marital home with the groom and his family. She is given a warm welcome by them. Yellow-colored grains are a common find in most rituals. At the threshold of the bride’s new household, a vessel of rice is placed at the bride’s feet and she is asked to knock it in such a way that the rice grains spill inwards, into the house. The significance of this? The bride is considered to be the embodiment of Goddess Lakshmi. By spilling rice into the house, she is said to bring in prosperity and wealth along with her! These rituals are full of life, color, and tradition.
India is a land where traditions and rituals make the foundation of our everyday life. There are great significance and meaning to the Vedic rituals followed in every wedding – the more you read about them, the better you would be able to follow and appreciate every step of your process of the ritual on your big day! Choosing the best candid wedding photographer for covering the complete event is a very important step.