* Hindu Wedding
A Hindu wedding is traditionally conducted at least partially in Sanskrit, the language of most holy Hindu ceremonies. The local language of the people involved is also used since most Hindus do not understand Sanskrit. Hindus have many rituals that have evolved since traditional times and differ in many ways from the modern western wedding ceremony and also among the different regions, families, and castes. The Hindus attach a lot of importance to marriages, and the ceremonies are very colourful and extend for several days. Also, outside the participants' home is decorated with balloons and other decorations. In India, where most Hindus live, the laws relating to marriage differ by religion. According to the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955, passed by the Parliament of India, for all legal purposes, all Hindus of any caste, creed or sect, Sikh, Buddhists and Jains are deemed Hindus and can intermarry. By the Special Marriage Act, 1954, a Hindu can marry a person who is not Hindu, employing any ceremony, provided specified legal conditions are fulfilled. The pre-wedding ceremonies include engagement (involving vagdana or oral agreement and lagna-patra written declaration), and arrival of the groom's party at the bride's residence, often in the form of a formal procession. The post-wedding ceremonies involve welcoming the bride to her new home. Despite modern Hinduism being largely based on the puja form of the worship of devas as enshrined in the Puranas, a Hindu wedding ceremony at its core is essentially a Vedic yajna (a fire-sacrifice), in which the Aryan deities are invoked in the Indo-Aryan style. It has a deep origin in the ancient ceremony of cementing the bonds of friendship/alliance (even among people of the same sex or people of different species in mythological contexts), although today, it only survives in the context of weddings. The primary witness of a Hindu marriage is the fire-deity (or the Sacred Fire) Agni. By law and tradition no Hindu marriage is deemed complete unless in the presence of the Sacred Fire seven encirclements have been made around it by the bride and the groom together. (In many South Indian Hindu marriages these are not required.) The Basis for a Fulfilling Married Life in Hinduism
A Vedic sage emphasized that the basis of happy and fulfilling married life is the sense of unity, intimacy and love between husband and wife both physically, mentally and spiritually. Hence wife is considered to be the Ardhangani of husband as per Hindu tradition. Thus, marriage is not for self-indulgence, but rather should be considered a lifelong social and spiritual responsibility. Married life is considered an opportunity for two people to grow from life partners into soul mates. Eight types of marriage
According to Hinduism there are eight different types of Hindu marriages. Among the eight types not all had religious sanction. The last four were not religiously defined and were condemned. These are: Brahma marriage, Daiva marriage, Arsha marriage, Prajapatya marriage, Gandharva marriage, Asura marriage, Rakshasa marriage and Paishacha marriage.
All of the rituals vary based on family traditions. Some of the rituals are performed in slightly different ways in different regions.
During marriage festivities
The Saptapadi (Sanskrit for seven steps/feet), is perhaps the most important component of Vedic Hindu weddings. The couple conduct seven circuits of the Holy Fire (Agni), which is considered a witness to the vows they make each other. In some regions, sashes worn by the bride and groom are tied together for this ceremony. Elsewhere, the groom holds the bride's right hand in his own right hand. Each circuit of the consecrated fire is led by either the bride or the groom, varying by community and region. Usually, the bride leads the groom in the first circuit. In North India, the first six circuits are led by the bride, and the final one by the...
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