Marriages in Different Religions
India is known for its rich cultural heritage and diverse customs. Each religion has its own traditions and ritual. Different existing religions in the country- Hinduism, Islam, Sikhism, Zoroastrianism, Jewish, Buddhism, Jain and Christianity every religion has their own wedding customs. Though Indian wedding is mainly associated with the Hindu marriage ceremony, actually the Indian Marriage canopies the marriages of all the different existing religions in the country. If you are interested in knowing about the different Indian Marriages, you must go through this article.
The Hindu Marriage is very popular as the majority of Indian population follows Hinduism. Though there is also much variation in the Hindu religious customs in accordance with the regions and communities, the overall customs remain same throughout. The Hindu marriage is held in a big marquee, either in the bride's home yard or in a rented wedding hall. Different rituals are held pre marriage, on the main day and post marriage. Customs like Ganesh puja, Haldi, Sagan, Sangeet and Sagaai are held before the wedding day. On the wedding the most prominent rituals are Jaimala, Kanyadaan, Sindoor, Mangalphere and Saptapadi. Generally, Hindu Marriages are very royal and extravagant, especially the north Indian Hindu marriages held at night.
After Hindus, Muslims form a major chunk of Indian Society. Muslim weddings in India are also celebrated with equal pomp and gaiety. They have various pre-wedding, wedding and post-wedding rituals. Each ritual has an important significance. In the pre-wedding rituals, Mehndi ceremony is an important function. It is mostly celebrated at the bride's home on the eve of the wedding ceremony or a few days before the wedding. On the wedding day, there are rituals like welcoming the baraat. The main wedding ritual in Muslims is the Nikaah. It is held either at the home of the bride or at any other common venue. The ceremony is conducted by the Maulvi (priest) in the presence of the close friends and relatives. The priest then reads the important verses from the Quran. Thereafter, the ritual of Ijab-e-Qubul (proposal and acceptance) takes place, the Groom sends his proposal to the bride. The marriage is said to be solemnized only if the girl gives her consent.
In India like the Hindus and Muslims there are vast majority of Christians too. A Christian Wedding celebration in India is simple yet charming. The wedding ceremony is conducted in the church. On the day of the wedding, the best man greets the bride with a bouquet. The best man is someone very close to the bridegroom. She is than accompanied by her father to the altar. In the presence of two witnesses from both sides the bride and the groom declare themselves to be husband and wife. The groom declares his wedding vows. The couple exchanges their rings and the priest blesses the newly wedded couple and declares them husband and wife. The couple then walks down the aisle together. Everyone then joins the couple for the reception party. Here, the wedding cake is cut, and everyone raises the toast in the name of the bride and the groom.
Like Hindu, Muslim and Christians, Sikhs are also an important part of the Indian Society. Very much similar to the Hindu marriages, the Sikh marriages also involve different rituals and customs. The Reht Maryada, which is the official Sikh code of conduct, specifies certain guidelines that as long as both the boy and girl profess the Sikh faith and no other faith they are joined in wedlock by the Anand Karaj ceremony. The guidelines strictly forbid any sort of dowry system, astrology and any other superstitions associated with wedding date or time. Different rituals are associated with the Sikh marriages, which are performed on different days.
Compared to the other religions in the country, the population of Parsis is very less in the country, yet the Parsi rituals and traditions hold a distinct identity in the Indian society. In a Parsi marriage, the gathering on the marriage day is called Shahjan, the gathering for the queenly bride. The bridegroom comes first to take the seat in the room where the marriage is to be celebrated. The bride comes later. The Parsi lagan or marraige is called ‘Achumichu', which takes place either at a Baug or at an Agiary.
Buddhist Religion is also a very popular religion in India. Based on the principles of brotherhood and fraternity, the religion preaches simple living and high thinking. The Buddhist marriage in accordance with its principles is very simple and sober. With no religious obligations like horoscopes and astrology and no social obligations like feast and grandeur, the Buddhist marriage is more a family affair than a social or religious one. There is no hard-lined ritual for a Buddhist wedding ceremony; however people generally visit the temple and take blessings from the monks to solemnize the marriage.
The Jewish population in India is very limited, yet they are an important part of our diversified culture. The Jewish traditions are interesting yet simple. In the Jewish religion, marriage is considered to be mandatory as a single person is considered to be incomplete. The Jewish wedding ritual can be divided into two basic phases- the kiddushinor engagement phase and nissu'in or the actual wedding. While kiddushin leads to a change in the conjugal status of the bride and groom, nissu'in or the actual wedding is important to bring a legal change. Kiddushin is a ring ceremony where the groom places a ring on the bride's right index finger and the bride just clenches her fist to show her acceptance. However, one the day on the day of nissu'in, the couple is joined in matrimony, under the chuppah.
Jain religion also forms an important part of Indian society. They have a very interesting culture that adds to the diversity of Indian traditions. Marriage is considered to be very pious in Jain religion. As the Jain community does not believe in wasting time and money over the pomp and show of marriage, they Jain marriage is comparatively a less extravagant and more ritualistic affair. The most important rituals of Jain Wedding Ceremony are Phere, Kanyavaran, Havan and Granthi Bandhan. Once these four rituals are completed, the wedding of the couple is said to have been solemnized.