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Wedding Rituals & Procedure !

The Arya Samaj wedding has no elaborate rituals. The wedding rites are few, but rich in significance, and the Vedic mantras chanted during the process are explained to the couple so that the significance is not lost on them. The Arya Samaj wedding is an option for people of all religions - any one can have an Arya Samaj wedding. The pre-wedding and post-wedding ceremonies depend on the regional and cultural background of the couple. An Arya Samaj wedding is centered around fire worship and marks the transition of the couple from Brahmacharya ashram (the state of celibacy) to Grihastashram (the life of a married person).

PRE-WEDDING RITUALS

Ladies' Sangeet:
This is a music session that is held at the bride's home a few days before the wedding. The congregation consists of the bride's girl friends and female relatives. Folk and wedding songs are sung during the session.

Mehndi:
The Mehndi ceremony is also attended by female relatives and friends of the bride, and is held at the bride's home. The ceremony is usually held on the eve of wedding. The bride-to-be is anointed with a paste of turmeric and sandalwood powder. This is part of the purification or cleansing process before the mehndi (henna) is applied on her hands and feet. A friend or a special mehndi artist applies the mehndi in beautiful and intricate designs. Mehndi is also applied on the hands of those present. It is a joyous occasion and tea and delicious snacks are served throughout the evening.

Brahmbhoj:

Feeding Brahmins is considered auspicious and it is customary for Arya Samajis to feed 16 Brahmins on the morning of the wedding. This ritual is called brahmbhoj. The family members usually participate in serving the Brahmins.

Chudha and Nath:
These ceremonies are observed by Arya Samajis hailing from the Northern regions of India - such as the Punjabis. On the day of the wedding, the maternal uncle of the bride-to-be slips on red ivory bangles on her wrists. He also helps her wear the traditional nath, a large, circular nose ring.

WEDDING RITUALS

The rituals for the bride and groom:

The wedding ceremony begins in an Arya Samaj wedding hall with the bride and groom exchanging garlands. The bride garlands the groom first. She hands him a pitcher of water. He washes his feet, then his hands, and finally, his face. 'This is the way a good wife must welcome her husband,' is the message that this ceremony conveys. Now the bride must put a mixture of curd, ghee and honey into the cupped palms of the groom. He scatters the mixture in all directions and consumes what remains. This ritual is called madhupark se satkaar. The combination of curd, honey and ghee is a known ayurvedic cure for indigestion and any other imbalances in the body. The rite indicates the commitment of the couple - the wife's to feed and nurture her family, and the husband's to provide for his family without harming Mother Nature.

Thread Ceremony and Yagnya:


The groom wears a sacred thread. The yagnya begins. It symbolises worshipping an element of nature fire. At the end of the yagnya, alms are given away.

Kanya Daan:


Kanya Daan literally means 'giving away the girl.' The parents of the bride must give their daughter away to her new family. The priest recites mantras from the Vedas which are repeated by the couple as they hold hands. They seek the blessings of those present so that their love for each other may grow strong. At the end of this ceremony, the couple go around the sacred fire.

Pratigya Mantra:

The groom holds the bride's hand and together, they take their wedding vows. The couple walk around the fire at the end of this ceremony.

Shilarohan:
The brother of the bride places her foot on a stone, while the groom recites mantras. The significance of this ceremony is to convey the brother's blessings to the couple, especially the bride. He expresses the wish that their marriage be as firm and steady as the rock on which he has placed his sister's foot. By touching her foot, he conveys that the bride is now responsible for upholding the honour of her family. He offers his sister puffed rice to assure her that, after her wedding, she would always have plenty to take back following every visit to her parents' home. Another significance of giving her the rice husk is to tell her that she has been brought up by her parents and like the rice husk must now be replanted in another home in order to blossom and mature.

Parikrama:
The couple go around the sacred fire four times during this ceremony. The bride prays for the health of her husband and for a healthy, happy marital relationship with him. The groom makes a promise towards the end of the ceremony. He promises to be reverential and respectful towards all women.

Kesh Mochan:

This ritual involves the groom undoing his bride's hair gently and letting it cascade down freely. He recites a mantra that assures her that he would never do anything to hurt her and make her go away from him.

Saptapadikriya:

The ends of bride's saree and the groom's shawl are tied together. The saptapadikriya or seven steps taken by the couple signify their seven needs: nourishment, strength, wealth obtained through honest means, good health, progeny, good luck and a loving relationship. At the end of this ceremony, the older members of the family sprinkle water on the couple. This is their way of advising them to be calm and good-tempered at all times.

Suryadarshan
:
The couple worship another element of nature - the sun - during this ceremony

Hriday Sparsh:
The couple touch each other's hearts and promise to be tender-hearted and gentle with each other.


Sindoor Daan:
The groom fills the parting on the bride's head with sindoor or vermilion. He does this thrice. This ritual done, all present must bless the newly weds.

Dhruv Darshan:
The newly-weds view the Dhruv or the Pole Star. The Pole Star is important as it symbolises constancy - a virtue that's important in every marriage. They also view two stars of the Great Bear constellation - Arundhati and Vasisth. These stars, never viewed separately, symbolise togetherness.

POST-WEDDING RITUALS


Reception:
The reception is usually held at a banquet hall or in the wedding hall itself. It is an occasion for blessing the couple and sharing a meal with them.

Taking off the Chudha:

The chudha that had been worn by the bride on the day of her wedding is taken off a couple of months later (the time period is between 1 month to 1 year depending on personal beliefs) by her sister-in-law. She presents the bride with a set of new clothes and jewellery on this day.
 

Guidelines for marriage


Arya Samaj Marriage is applicable amongst Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs or Jains. A Hindu marriage can be solemnized between two Hindus (often when they are of different religion or nations) (Muslim or Christian) can convert their own religion into Hinduism and become Hindus in the Arya Samaj Mandir with their own free will and consent.

Documents required for the Solemnization of Marriage:-

  1. Documentary evidence of date of birth of parties (Matriculation Certificate / Passport / Birth Certificate/ Driving License). Minimum age of both parties is 21 years for male and 18 years for female, at the time of Solemnization of Marriage in the Arya Samaj Mandir.
  2. Separate affidavits from bride and groom stating date of birth, marital status at the time of marriage and nationality. (As per the Performa of Affidavit)
  3. Four each passport size photographs of both the parties.
  4. Two witness with their Identity Proofs.  
  5. Affirmation in the affidavit that the parties are not related to each other within the prohibited degree of relationship.
  6. Copy of divorce decree/order in case of a divorcee and death certificate of spouse in case of widow/widower.
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