An Explanation

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					               The Wedding of Madhu &
                      Harish




                 An Explanation
Arrival of Groom and kinsmen (Baarat): This is an age-old custom. Harish and
his kinsmen will arrive at the wedding venue amongst much festivity. The couple’s
family and friends will dance in whatever way they please as the drums are played.
(Madhu: “And I am sadly left out of the party as the bride is supposed to twiddle her
thumbs in the bridal chambers!”). Madhu’s father and brother, Mahesh, will receive
Harish at his car.

Welcoming the Groom (Var Satkaar): Madhu’s family and friends will receive
Harish and his kinsmen at the entrance of the wedding venue. Madhu's mother will
bless Harish with rice and trefoil, before applying vermilion and turmeric powder to
his forehead.

Entrance Prayer (Dwar Pooja): Madhu's mother performs a welcome ritual for
Harish. The priest conducts a prayer for Lord Ganesh (Remover of Obstacles). In the
background, older ladies will be singing naughty songs about various relatives.

Exchange of Garlands (Jai Mala): Madhu will enter the wedding hall accompanied
by her friends. The couple exchanges floral garlands, symbolising mutual respect and
acceptance. This is usually accompanied by good-natured jokes from friends and
relatives. It remains to be seen who garlands the other first. Sometimes the groom
is even lifted in the air by his friends so that the bride finds it difficult to garland
him…In some cases, the groom readily lowers his head to help her. If he does that,
he will be teased endlessly.

Stealing of shoes: In this time-old tradition, Madhu’s bridesmaids will steal Harish’s,
his brother’s and his best men’s shoes when they remove them to enter the nuptial
ground (mandap). (Madhu, “Girls, steal everything. Watches, wallets, whatever else
you can get hold off!) The best men’s job is to ensure the girls’ hands are kept off
their shoes and possessions. A battle of wit and strategy ensues. Once stolen, the
shoes are returned after the wedding ceremony for cash. The amount will be
negotiated chiefly by the bride’s sister, Archana, and split amongst the girls.


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Prayer (Prarthna Mantra): The couple will proceed to the nuptial platform, where
the priest will chant the Gayatri mantra for the Lord’s blessings.

Offerings (Madhupak): Madhu will offer a mixture of honey and yogurt to Harish.
Honey symbolises the sweetness of eternal love, and yogurt is for his eternal good
health.

Aachman (Purification): The couple sips water three times to purify their heart
and body.

Kindling the sacred fire (Agni Pradipan): The wedding is solemnised before fire,
the symbol of knowledge, power, and purity. It’s a principle witness to the ceremony.

Granting the hand of the Bride (Kanya Daan): The prime wealth of a Hindu
household is the daughter, who symbolises Wealth (Lakshmi). Madhu’s parents will
place her hands in Harish’s and then pour holy water over their cupped hands to
finalise this gift giving. In Vedic scriptures, there is no gift greater than giving one’s
daughter’s hand in marriage. In return, Harish promises to accept Madhu as his
equal life partner in all walks of life.

Offerings (Jaya Home): Offerings to the sacred fire emphasize the couples’ joint
responsibility in maintaining love and dignity in their union. Gifts are then exchanged
with the words, "Let all present here know that our hearts have mingled like water.
Let breath, let God, let wisdom keep us united".

Taking her hand (Paani Graham): Harish will take the hand of Madhu. Both
solemnly pledge before God that they have become one and will forever love and
remain mutually devoted for the rest of their lives.

Exchange of vows: The priest will read the solemn declaration of union. Madhu and
Harish will exchange holy vows:

Harish: I take your hand in mine, for the attainment of prosperity. May you enjoy a
long and happy life with me. By the grace of God and blessings of all assembled, you
are now my life partner and wife.

Madhu: I take your hand in mine in pursuit of righteousness, for the benefit of both
our families. I will stand by you. May we have prosperity and may I keep you radiant
as the rays of the sun.

4 Rounds (Mangal Phera): Madhu’s brother, Mahesh, will pour rice in the hands of
the couple to offer to Agni (Lord of Fire) who dispels darkness/ ignorance to lead into
light/ knowledge. The couple will then walk around the sacred fire. Each round
represents:

Dharma: Moral sense to lead a good life. Artha: Financial prosperity . Kama: Blessing
for strong, virtuous children and sharing the responsibilities of a home. Moksha: Self-
restraint and eternal physical, mental and spiritual strength.

Together the four goals symbolise the couple's commitment to each other, the
community and the cosmos. For the first 3 rounds, Madhu leads Harish and for the



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last, Harish leads. Mahesh will then be presented with a gift for his role in the sacred
ceremony.

The Rock (Shila Rohan): Madhu places her right foot on a piece of rock while
Harish recites a hymn to encourage his wife to be as strong as the rock, and to be
firm regardless of the obstacles they face together. Rice and flowers are sprinkled on
the couple by her family and friends.

7 Steps (Saptapadi): Madhu and Harish take seven steps forward together,
symbolising the beginning of their journey through life. Each step represents a vow:

1. From this day we will love, cherish and respect each another, for better or worse,
for richer or poorer, in sickness or in health ... forever.

2. Together we will create a home full of joy and laughter, where we find serenity
and strength.

3. Together we will share a steadily deepening love, which grows in understanding
and unselfishness.

4. We will embrace each other's family as well as the family we’re about to create.

5. Let us have a measure of patience and forgive with grace.

6. We will care for people more than possessions, for honour more than honours,
and for the love of a home more than the size of a house.

7. Let us forever be best friends and share each other's ideas and ideals.

Offering of Sindoor (Sindoor Daan): Harish puts Sindoor (red powder) in the
parting of Madhu's hair and welcomes her into his life as his eternal partner. Harish’s
father, Mr Uday Shankar, will then welcome Madhu into the family by offering her
some clothes and jewellery.

Blessings (Aashirvaad): The newly-wed couple (by now, hot and tired) will request
for blessings from their elders. Married women from Harish’s and Madhu’s families
will come forth to bless them with rice and blades of grass, so that they lead a life of
happiness.

And then?
We party ☺




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