Arya Samaj Wedding
In India, the wedding rituals and customs in any family are mainly based on the religion or community that the family follows. The community only decides the kind of wedding ceremony that a couple would have. There are many people in India who don't believe in these specific and staunch rituals or grand and elaborate celebrations of the Hindu wedding function. For them, who are not so particular about the rules and regulations of their religion and community or want to keep their marriage a low key affair, Arya Samaj Marriage is a very convenient wedding option for them.
An Arya Samaj wedding is conducted by the Arya Samaj, founded by Swami Dayanand Saraswathi in any of its temple. The marriage in Arya Samaj wedding is performed as per Vedic rites and thus does not require any flamboyance. In fact, simplicity is the main essence of Arya Samaj wedding. Though the Arya Samaj weding is meant only for Hindus, any non-Hindu can also be allowed to undergo the marriage rituals if he undergoes the process of conversion through Shuddhi i.e. Purification.
The Arya Samaj wedding ceremony is performed with the fire and other elements as the witnesses since they don't believe in idol worshipping. In an Arya Samaj wedding, the mantras, which are chanted, are translated into a language that the couple can understand so that the couple can relate themselves to the meaning and significance of the wedding mantras. This wedding is different from the traditional Hindu wedding in the sense that it does not involves elaborate rituals and the ceremony is not extended over a long period of time. The wedding ceremony lasts for an hour and the wedding expense is very low compared to the normal traditional Hindu wedding.
The main rituals of the wedding are as follows:
- Madhuparka is a ritual in which the bride and the groom arrive at the venue of the wedding the groom partakes of 'Madhuparka', which is a mixture of honey, curds and cream. The bride gives the groom water three times, which he sprinkles on his feet, over his body and drinks it the third time. Similarly, the groom also follows the ritual. This ritual symbolizes the commencement of their journey into a happy married life.
- The ritual of kanyadaan is the one in which the parents of the bride offer their daughter's hand in marriage to the groom.
- Havanv is the ritual where the wedding is solemnized in front of the Agni or holy fire, which is considered life. The priest chants the mantras invoking blessing for happy married life.
- In the Pani Grahan Sanskar the groom takes the bride's hands in his and chants mantras promising to be beside her in times of need and look after all her needs. Then there are rituals like Shilarohan, Lajahom, Parikrama , and Saptapadi, which are followed.
- Lastly the ritual ends with the Aashirwaad ceremony where the newly wedded couple takes the blessing of all the elders in the family.