Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Welcome to week 15 in our ’52 Rituals/Traditions in 52 Weeks’

A Hindu ceremony, in most cases is quite extravagant and beautiful. It incorporates many different rituals and traditions and is often filled with chanting and Sanskrit blessings that began in a time long ago. This ceremony is known as 'samskara' and in India, it can last days or even weeks.

A Hindu ceremony performed in the Western parts of the world are usually a little less extravagant and last at least two hours.

The central component of a Hindu wedding ceremony  is 'Saptapadi', also called the 'Seven Steps'.

In this ritual the bride’s sari is tied to the groom’s clothing (kurta), or a sari shawl may be draped from his shoulder to her sari. He then takes her, linking his pinky finger with hers and leads her in seven steps around the fire.

While this is taking place the priest or officiant chants the seven blessings or vows for a strong union. These are adapted her in English from the Hindu ceremony:

1. May this couple be blessed with an abundance of resources and comforts, and be helpful to one another in all ways.

2. May this couple be strong and complement one another.

3. May this couple be blessed with prosperity and riches on all levels.

4. May this couple be eternally happy.

5. May this couple be blessed with a happy family life.

6. May this couple live in perfect harmony… true to their personal values and their joint promises.

7. May this couple always be the best of friends.

With each step, they throw small bits of puffed rice into the fire, representing prosperity in their new life together. The action of walking around the fire indicates that they agree to these seven blessings. This is considered the most important part of the ceremony as it seals the bond forever.

A simple and easy way to adapt this into contemporary civil marriage ceremony is to light a traditional fire, or use a large candle or pot of fire that can be placed on a small table beside the bride and groom.

The bride and groom can then take seven steps around the table while the seven blessings are spoken in English.  They can still throw the rice into the fire if using a pot or something large enough.

You do not have to be Hindu to use a ritual such as the Seven Steps in your ceremony. Rituals and Traditions are becoming ever popular with couples all over the world and it is at times difficult to find a ritual that truly means something to you. Explore all of the options and don’t be afraid to incorporate something quite different and unique. It will definitely make your ceremony memorable. As long as you stay respectful to the culture the ritual belongs with the use of it, then it makes for a beautiful experience for all.

The Wedding Gurus xx

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