I recently attended an Indian wedding with my family as my brother’s best friend is of Hinduism religion. The wedding took place at India House Banquets in Schaumburg and was really interesting to compare to the many catholic weddings I have been to. When visiting this area that many Hinduism weddings take place, it was noted how different they are from Catholic churches Before discussing the most interesting ritual I witnessed, some of the things that are different from a traditional Catholic wedding were the clothes and lengths.
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As my brother was one of the men who stood up in his wedding, Hindi people celebrate week long for their weddings. One day is designated to the bride and her bridesmaids getting their henna done, another day is designated to the bachelor and bachelorette party and the wedding itself begins early in the morning and lasts all day. Another thing that I found to be amazing was the clothes they wear for wedding celebrations. The outfits they wear are stunning and they do a few outfit changes from the ceremony to the banquet hall. Overall, this was such an amazing experience and I wish everyone would have the opportunity to experience a wedding in a religion other than their own.
Jumping into my favorite part of the wedding was a ritual called the Seven Steps when the couple to be married walks around this ring of fire. This is the most important ritual as after the seventh, and final step, the man and woman are legally husband and wife. This is different as in my familiar religion, the couple says their vows and undergoes a service in which they are granted marriage ending in a you may not kiss the bride. One of the biggest problems of this ritual was the language barrier but it was translated in an easier way as I asked the groom after the fact. The importance of this walk is many different prayers to their God reaching out for different blessings. The groom says something and then the bride will respond as they both are making lifelong promises to each other and to the God. Starting with the first step, they pray for healthy food and a respectful life together. The next step is physical health along with mental stability and spiritual strength to live the best and pure life as husband and wife. The third step is asking for wealth, wisdom, and prosperity.
The next step was happiness for them forever and it also signifies the importance of family, parents, and elders. The fifth step was praying to God asking for his blessings and kindness on all living things. This also connects to praying for their friends and other relatives. The sixth step asks again for lifelong happiness and a long life together. The seventh step ends this ritual as it pronounces the husband and wife legally married. They both agree to have a long life together of loyalty and companionship along with honesty and universal peace. As this ritual is happening, the man always starts the pledge and the woman responds in agreement mentioning we this and that. This was something that I found to be the most interesting ritual as it is something I have never seen before. When the groom was explaining to me this ritual I found it to be so passionate and meaningful. The different steps they take show their everlasting love for each other.
This relates to a theme we’ve encountered in our readings on Hinduism as Dharma is the universal law. Living in harmony is important as Dharma is the core of the Hindu practice. They will never go to through the afterlife process if they do not follow their Dharma. When the couple gets married, they can pursue Dharma, Artha, Kama, and Moksha together as a married couple. In India, a common way to have a spouse is through an arranged marriage and this is still in effect today as it is the most preferred way. It is very difficult to find a spouse the family approves of and family plays a major role in this religion as we have read in the Mahabharata.
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