I must admit that the very first time I witnessed a Hindu marriage ceremony I was awestruck and amazed. Theirs is so much more then a vow between husband and wife but a binding promise to be with each other for the rest of their lives.
They take marriage so much more seriously; theirs is solemn vows of loyalty, steadfast love and a life long fidelity. I found out that the majority of Hindu weddings are very expensive and the pre-marital ceremonies can last from a few days to a few weeks.
After various Hindu premarital ceremonies are completed then comes the actual marriage ceremony.
Theirs is the circumambulating of the holy fire/sacred fire, but first the Priest ties the marriage knot (a symbol of permanence) by tying one end of the grooms scarf with the brides dress. The groom takes the right hand of the bride with his left hand as a symbol of accepting the bride as his lawfully wedded wife and so with the groom leading, they begin to make the first four of a total of seven rounds and take the first four of a total of seven solemn vows:
1St solemn vow
You’ll take care of each others happiness
2nd solemn vow
You’ll take care of each others health
3rd solemn vow
You’ll take care of each others prosperity
4th solemn vow
You’ll take care of each others honor
The couples switch places and start circulumambulating the holy fire in the opposite direction, the bride takes the lead as the couple continues to make the last three rounds taking the final three solemn vows:
5th solemn vow
You’ll take care of each others family
6th solemn vow
You’ll never let your marital bond break
7th solemn vow
You’ll always remain each others companion, supporter and friend
According to the Hindu’s religious belief’s the act of seven circles around the holy fire legalizes their marriages, and so the bride groom blesses the bride by putting red colored kumkum, or sindhur (vermillion) at the parting of the bride’s hair or her forehead and then gives her the sacred necklace (Mangal Sutra). The Mangal Sutra represents the sacredness of the couples union, togetherness and love.
I am so very impressed with the sacredness of the Hindu Marriage. In their eyes marriage is a spiritual transformation and is considered one of the most important stable unions of a person’s lifetime. It is not in anyway considered an act at whim, nor a temporary contract or bond to be ended or dissolved at the slightest inconvenience but considered a lifetime union and the center of importance to all domestic life.