The Hindu wedding ceremony is basically a transition from being single to being a married couple; the ceremony encompasses various stages in the life of the couple from the first meeting to the marriage. A typical Hindu wedding ceremony is done in an ancient language/scripture preserved for holy ceremonies known as the Sanskrit.
The Buddhist Sanskrit is common in south East Asia and India which can be traced far back as 1500 BCE, the earlier form of the lndo- European language is the Vedic Sanskrit. Being a primary language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism it is generally used in important ceremonies and rituals.
One of the most important ceremonies is the Hindu marriage ceremony which is celebrated with grandeur, exciting décor, lots of floral arrangements and revelry. No two wedding ceremonies are the same because apart from the Sanskrit language and scriptures used some of the ceremony is performed in the dialect of that particular region or people.
Despite this small difference the major tenants of the traditional ceremony are strictly adhered to giving the occasion a uniform structure. The wedding ceremony has its origin in a folklore love story of chivalry and honor about a man Ashninikumer after winning a chariot race and was given Surya as a bride by the father Savita.
The wedding ceremony could be done within a day or several days and even running to a week depending on the resources available, social standing and custom of the region. Most Hindu marriages are financed by the bride’s parents while the groom and his family are guests.
The ceremony has certain stages that should be strictly followed before the marriage is officially concluded and each stage has its provisions.
Different kinds of Hindu weddings ceremonies
There are about eight types of Hindu weddings according to the Manusmriti an ancient Hindu text, this include the Brahmana, the Daiva (daughter given to a priest), Rishis, Prajapati, Asuras, Gandharva, Rakshasa, and Pisaka. Hindu marriages are usually referred to as vivaah while vivaah sanskar has to do with the wedding ceremony, listed below are some Hindu wedding arrangements.
- Prajapahya. This type of wedding ceremony consists of an agreed consent to wed including an exchange of wedding vows between the bride and groom.
- Two types of marriages in ancient Hindu are the Rakshasa and Paishacha which are total abolished in today’s India. The Rakshasa marriage is wrong and illegal because the groom forcefully abducts a woman despite opposition to the union. Another forbidden marriage act that is against the law is Paishacha which is akin to unsolicited forceful knowledge of a woman.
- Braham marriage. Braham marriage is the most common type of Hindu marriage ceremony; the father finds a suitable panther for his daughter. After proposing marriage both families meet to discus the modalities of the marriage. In this arrangement it is the duty of the father to betroth his daughter to the groom usually in a grand ceremony.
- Daiva marriage is an ancient practice whereby a sacrificial fee is replaced by the offer of a bride by the father.
- Arsha marriage is like a dowry system and a vowed obligation to the woman’s parents where gifts or livestock is offered to a father n exchange for his daughters hand on marriage. Asura is also a dowry based system that has to do with financial gain on the part of the father of the bride. Although the practice is common it is not favorably accepted because of the greed factor.
- Gandharva marriage has to do with a cohabiting couple then decide to marry without subjecting themselves to any Hindu ceremony. They might opt for the customary court and get married under customary law.