Hindu weddings are culture-rich festivities full of celebration and tradition, which we take a glimpse at in today’s enriching feature article.
At Sunshine Weddings Spain, we embrace all different types of cultures and religions, and with over two decades of wedding planning experience, we have a great deal of expertise in planning luxury Hindu weddings. In fact, we are diverse with an array of cultures around the world, supporting multicultural, multiethnic, cross-faith couples, ensuring that everyone’s special day is as traditional or modern as they want it to be.
On the first Sunday of April earlier this year, we had the pleasure of organising a special Hindu wedding for the beautiful Nitya, from the autonomous city of Ceuta and Nikesh, from the north of English.
A typical Hindu wedding is actually a complex agenda of many rituals that takes place days—often even weeks—before the actual wedding!
In today’s feature article we are going to cover the main elements of the formal celebration, the day when the bride and groom were declared husband and wife.
To start with, a typical Hindu wedding is much bigger than most Western weddings. In fact, an “intimate” Hindu wedding can consist of an average of 150 to 200 guests. In this particular wedding 200 guests gathered to witness Nitya and Nikesh’s magical day.
A ceremony which begins with the baraat, or the groom’s arrival, on this occasion Nikesh and his family was greeted by the vibrant sound of drums made by the bride’s family as the groom and his entourage entered the beautiful Spanish finca.
Typically the baraat is the arrival of the groom to take his bride home and is met with a lot of fanfare and a lot of people as the groom never arrives alone, rather escorted by a large number of friends and family and where special bands that play trumpets and drums are often hired for the groom’s arrival at the venue.
The groom often makes his appearance on a horse, looking regal in his sherwani (a button-down knee length jacket usually worn over flared trousers) or in a flash, high-end coupe decked out with hundreds of flowers and ribbons.
During the Kanya Aagaman, the bride is typically escorted to the Mandap by her maternal uncle and aunt, signifying the acceptance of the union from the maternal side of the bride’s family.
On this occasion, the beautiful bride, Nitya, was led to the wedding mandap, underneath an elegant canopy of flowers during Kanya Aagman, giving the ceremony an extra touch of beauty and colour.
When the bride reaches the mandap, the bride and groom each place a floral garland around the other’s neck to show their acceptance for one another.
Once the baraat has ended the ceremonial marriage rites occur and take place at the wedding Mandap.
The mandap is usually constructed on the morning of the ceremony using four pillars. There are variations to the meaning of the pillars, sometimes believed to represent one of the four parents, or the four stages of one’s life, namely Brahmacharya – phase of celibacy, being a student. Grihasta – the householder phase. Vanaprastha – the phase of retirement. Sanyasa – the phase of renunciation.
The set up of the mandap itself is always beautifully decorated, with ornaments of different colours for a traditional Hindu wedding celebration. The priest – called a pandit – bride, groom, and bride’s parents are seated under the mandap with a ceremonial fire pit placed in the centre, symbolic of purification. The couple then walk around the fire, tied to one another (the groom by his sash, the bride by her veil) from four to seven times whilst the pandit chants verses which officially tie them together in the eyes of the gods.
After their fourth cycle, they are officially married. Next, the groom places red kum kum powder on the bride’s forehead and a black and gold beaded mangalsutra around her neck.
The guests and families of the bride and groom move on to the reception, where they dance the bhangra – an energetic, folk dance.
For Indians, no celebration is complete without plenty of guests, dance, lights, beautiful wedding attire where bright hues are encouraged and the most important of all, loads and loads of delicious foods.
Other aspects of the reception are very similar to western wedding receptions with videographers, DJs, a seated dinner, desserts, and heaps of fun.