Indian Customs When Visiting Someone’s Home

Visiting someone’s home in India obliges you to treat the host with utmost courtesy and respect, especially if it’s your first time. To shine as an exceptional and always-welcome guest remember mother dear’s missive to ‘Be polite!’ Also, a little research beforehand helps you avoid any major faux pas.

In India, the hosts are incredibly welcoming and cater to the needs of the guests in the most lavish manner. This is mainly due to the firm belief of Indians in an old Sanskrit saying ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’ that means ‘Guests are the forms of God’. These words lay down the ideal host-guest relationship in India.

In order to get you the perfect guest score, we’ve done the groundwork so you are confident when you are invited to an Indian home.

Accept the invitation cordially

If you’ve frequent interaction with your Indian acquaintances, chances are you’ll be invited to their home for a meal. Refrain from rejecting the invitation unless you have a plausible reason. Inviting someone to their home is an Indian way of expressing respect and affection.

Greeting, The Indian Way

When you visit, make sure to learn also more about the Indian greeting habits in the guide below.

Bring a gift for the honouree

Taking a beautifully wrapped gift for the host is appreciable guest etiquette that shows your gratitude to the host. Should you face a difficulty deciding what to get, a box of sweets or any item from your culture is welcomed. Also, you can never go wrong with home decor, flowers, and artisan type chocolates.

Follow Indian standard time

It is there for a reason! In India, it is considered bad manners to arrive sharp on time, much to the consternation of some exceptionally punctual Westerners.  While it is best to arrive 15-20 minutes late, make sure it’s not too late. Anything later than 30 minutes toes the inconsiderate line.

Dress Modestly

While the clothing ranges from conservative to very modern, it’s best to always err on the side of the caution. If you’re invited to someone’s home avoid revealing clothes and exposed skin as these are frowned upon and make everyone uncomfortable. While the fairer sex is more pressurized to dressing modestly, men are also expected to put on decent attire. Of course, this depends also a lot of the person you’re visiting.

Wear a clean pair of socks

Many traditional Indian families usually take off their footwear outside the main door as they are considered unclean. This custom is no more followed in some households so you can wait to be instructed by the host. And when in doubt, do what the host does.

Return the salutations pleasantly

The commonest way to greet anyone in India is to hold hands together and say ‘Namaste’ which means ‘I greet you with no previous inhibitions or prejudices. While shaking hands is becoming quite an ordinary practice, refrain from giving hugs and air kisses unless the host initiates it. 

Don’t refuse a glass of water

It is customary in India to offer a glass of water to the guests on their arrival. This tradition dates back to ancient days when people had to walk miles bearing scorching heat due to lack of efficient transportation. Although the modes of transportation got better with time, this tradition got rooted in society. Even if you’re not thirsty, take a sip to show respect.

Stay for Dinner

Out of respect the host may ask you to stay for dinner. Don’t refuse, unless you’ve a good reason. For more information about eating habits and table manners read the article below:

Get the conversation going..

There is no surer way to a horrible visit for your host and for yourself than a colossal failure to start a chat. One trick to get the conversation going is to talk about politics and culture without sounding derogatory or condescending.  Also, beware of your appendages for some of them, like pointing finger, is considered rude.

At the end of the visit, make sure to pay the same respect by inviting the host to your place. Of course, prepare and treat them with the same hospitality as they treated you.

Happy visiting 🙂

Indian Eating Habits & Table Etiquette

In India, It’s rightly said that the mastery of table etiquette is supposed to reveal important parts of one’s character. Excellent table manners while having a sumptuous meal means you are thinking about the other people you’re with and respecting their presence. In this guide, learn about all the Indian also saving yourself from getting humiliated.

We’ve done the groundwork so you will feel confident when you have to dine at an Indian restaurant or with an Indian family.

Don’t say no without a plausible reason

First thing first, the natives of India firmly believe in an old-saying ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’ which means ‘the guest is god’ so the visitors are treated in the most humble and pleasant manner by the hosts.

Therefore, if you’re invited for a meal, refrain from rejecting the invitation for frivolous reasons because it might be an offense to a respectable gesture of the host. And you’ll miss great Indian dining experience.  This may also be the case if you’re on a business trip.

The right way to eat (with bare hands)

Once the host announces that food will be served shortly, you must go wash your hand thoroughly and pat it dry because many Indians prefer to eat food with a bare hand.  It is highly recommended that you eat with your right hand and use the left hand to serve food or to pass dishes around the table.

Why Indians eat with bare hands

Also, this traditional way of eating has an Ayurvedic reference which states that the nerve endings on your fingertips stimulate digestion. Moreover eating with hands is said to evoke emotion because eating is primarily a sensory experience. You are welcome to use the cutlery if you aren’t accustomed to eating with hands.

Offering to God

In many Indian families, there is a long-surviving tradition to offer a cooked meal to the deity as a token of devotion and respect. And for this sole reason, the food is not tasted during the preparation. It is believed that food eaten in this manner is free from bad omen and has a spiritual blessing. After this, the host normally serves food to everyone or you will be instructed to help yourself.

Sharing is caring

It is a custom in India to share food with others but only from the serving dish or bowl. Under no circumstance should you offer anybody food from your plate or help yourself to some from theirs because it is considered highly unhygienic and offensive in most parts of India.

Also, if you are offered more servings by the host avoid refusing unless you’re really full. Saying ‘have one more serving’ is a traditional Indian way of showing affection. The more you eat, happier the host as quantity of the food you eat shows if you’ve enjoyed the meal or not.

Have no leftovers

In Indian households, it is not appreciated if you have leftovers on your plate. Families believe in not wasting food as there are millions of people who die of starvation. There are two ways to avoid wasting food- either you indulge in the dishes that tempt you out of all that is served or you take tiny portions of everything that is on the table. Once you’ve wolfed down the meal, stay seated until everyone is done eating or it conveys bad table etiquette.

Lastly, do not forget to pay a compliment to the host for the delicious meal.

Conclusion

In India, dining etiquette plays an imperative role, much like in other culinary cultures. The convention of eating in India mirrors the nation’s traditions and cultures. Although the table manners may slightly differ in certain regions of India, the basic etiquettes will help you display an immaculate table manner.

Happy eating 🙂

5 Must Know Indian Pregnancy Traditions & Customs

Pregnancy and childbirth are treated with a plethora of traditional precautionary measures in each and every corner of the world. This is no different in India.

These customs are believed to keep the mother and the unborn child safe from any harm. Just as every pregnancy is unique, the customs and traditional practices vary from one place to another from pregnancy myths to predicting baby’s sex.

We’ve master-crafted a list of Indian Pregnancy Customs in order to get you familiar with some traditional practices.

1. Punsavana- The male-making rite

Considering India’s obsession with the male child, it’s no wonder that people perform male-making rite during the third month of the pregnancy sanctifying the fetus and emphasizing the continuity of a family through a male heir. The prevalent belief of many states that the deity governing the sex of the fetus is activated and a male child is assured. Sons are preferred over daughters because the traditional social set-up in India focuses on the son as being the breadwinner of the family, caretaker of the parents, and the one to light the funeral pyre of the parents.

2. Simmanantannaya—also known as Valaiakappu

A popular Indian practice known as Simmanantannaya is the custom where the pregnant lady wears red or green glass bangles from the seven months of gestation. The sound of these bangles is believed to reach the womb and comfort the fetus. Also known as Valaiakappu, the focus of this sacrament is the well-being of the baby. These bangles are removed after the delivery of the baby and given to the midwife.

3. Godhbharai- the Indian version of Baby Shower

Godhbharia is a well-cherished Indian custom that roughly translates to ‘fill the lap.’ After the seventh month of pregnancy, Indian families celebrate a woman’s pregnancy by performing prayers, showering the would-be-mother with blessings and gifts, and throwing a lavish meal in the unborn baby’s honor. Traditional festive tunes are played during the function to make it a fun event.

4. Seemantham: Uplifting the brain of the baby in the womb

According to the Indian custom, this ceremony is organized by the in-laws of the to-be-mom during the fifth, seventh, or ninth month of pregnancy. In this ritual the pregnant lady listens to religious hymns and the sound of the glass bangles to calm her mind and send a positive vibe to the baby in the womb.

In fact, this custom is supported by a scientific study that baby’s memory cells start to activate after the seven months of pregnancy. Hence the unborn child can record the sounds and vibrations from its surroundings. Elders believe that by performing seemantham, the baby will be sharp and intellect.

5. Avoid funerals

As per the traditional Indian belief, during pregnancy women ought to abstain from funerals for the fear of the dearly departed souls lingering too close to an unborn child. The natives carry the belief that nurturing a new life and giving a farewell to one don’t mix well. So avoiding funerals is a precautionary measure to provide safe and positive ambiance to the unborn baby and the mother-to-be.

All these customs are performed to ward off evil from the pregnant lady and pray for the well-being of both to-be-mom and the unborn child.

Concluding notes

Just like marriages, pregnancy is also celebrated with much fervor in India, the land of customs and traditions. Many rituals are passed down from ancestors through generations and have undergone numerous changes. However, the basis of these traditions remains the same- to pray for a safe pregnancy and birth of a healthy child.

While the above traditions remain relevant today, some younger generation Indian couples may attach less significance to them relative to older generations. The actual implementation will somewhat depend on family background, how one is raised.

Indian Greeting Customs

Greetings are exchanged as delightful pleasantries worldwide. While it seems simple enough, this “first impression” greeting conveys your respect for others. How you may wonder? When you are aware of the traditional greetings of a country, it sends a powerful message about how you view and value other cultures.

In India, although a western-style handshake is gaining huge momentum, there are instances when it is not accepted resulting in a completely unseemly experience. So what do you do? Shake hands? Go in for a hug? Or give an air-kiss? A greeting can get awkward at times, isn’t it?

In this guide we’ll describe different methods of greeting while also including the actual greetings in Indian language.

Different ways of greeting in india

In order to save you from embarrassment, we’ve master-crafted a list of appropriate greetings when in India.

1. Stand up to greet ‘Namaste’

In much of India Namaste with a simple bow is the go-to greeting followed by the question about one’s well-being. “Namaste” translates to “I bow to thee” or “I honor the Godhead within.” In India, this traditional greeting is done by pressing both the palms together and touching the forehead to express your sincere regard. A warm smile is the icing on the cake! As Indian culture is based on a hierarchical system so elders are greeted first to show your reverence towards them. Make sure you stand up and greet the people unless you are completely bed-ridden.

2. Get blessed as you touch elder’s feet

In addition to saying ‘Namaste’, touching the elders’ feet has been an ancient Indian tradition to express utmost respect regarding age, experience and achievements of the person. It has been believed for ages that if a young individual touches the feet of the elders then the former receives blessings for his long and prosperous life. The elders bless the person touching their feet for long and prosperous life. This gracious gesture demonstrates your respect for the Indian customs which will gain you some brownie points.

3. Hearty Handshakes

Handshakes are becoming a more popular and convenient way of greeting in India especially in metropolitan cities. While firm handshakes are common among westernized Indian men, they avoid greeting women the same way unless she offers her hand. This is mainly due to the reason; even a brief touch is taken as an intimate action in orthodox Indian environment. Therefore, many Indian women avoid contact with men in public situations. And yes, offer your right hand for a handshake as the left hand is prejudiced to be unclean.

Addressing someone

While it is customary to address elders by the relationship you share with them and not by their first name, in case of strangers you can go try ‘Sir/ Ma’am’ and ‘Uncle/Aunty’ for more familiar people. The Hindi words “bhai/bhayya” (brother) and “behen” (sister) are often used to summon people around your age. In order to your respect towards an individual you can also add gender-neutral suffix ‘-ji’ onto a person’s first name.

Avoid cultural faux pas

Most of the Indian are big on personal space so while having a conversation allow an arm’s length space with people. Also, try not to touch anyone’s head as it is considered rude in many parts of India. Additionally pointing footwear at people is considered an insult because it is believed that foot and footwear are unclean. So if you accidentally happen to hit someone with your foot, do apologize.

These Indian Greeting Customs will show your new Indian acquaintances that you’re committed to being respectful and courteous.

Happy Greeting 🙂

Indian Customs Before Entering a New Home

Entering a new house signifies an incredible beginning in your life and each one of us would want to start on a happy note with positive energy. To have a great start in the new abode people all around the world believe in aplenty housewarming rituals that are purported to bring good luck to the home. From lighting candles your first night at home and burning sage to boiling milk and prepping meals, there is no end to the list of rituals people have used to break in their new digs.

In India moving into a new home is considered only second in ceremonial importance to that of a wedding, and many acts are performed to bless the home and ward off evil spirits. You may be familiar with some of the much-believed-rituals but some might surprise you.

We’ve master-crafted a list of the most essential prerequisites of an auspicious move to your new home.

Pick an auspicious date and time

The first thing that you need to do is ask a learned priest to pick out the best suitable date and time to perform the most important rituals before you set foot inside your new house. It is believed that the time when the ceremony is performed is extremely crucial to get the best out of the ritual and to ward off evil spirits.

Perform Vastu Puja (Architectural worship)

According to Vastu Shastra ‘Science of architecture,’ a house has to be constructed following some specific principles to integrate architecture with nature otherwise it might be a magnet to evil forces. To eliminate any fault the house might have incurred due to flaws in the design and construction, the family is recommended to perform a fire ritual on the threshold of the new home as fire embodies warm feelings and spiritual guidance.

Right is right

We’ve been prejudiced for centuries that anything in the right side is always correct and have bias opinion to something on the left. Possibly derived from this perception the Indian custom states, the first footstep inside the house ought to be your right foot for a good omen.

Perform Griha Pravesh Puja (First entry into the house ceremony)

It is important to perform a traditional Vedic Griha Pravesh Puja to ensure everything goes well and to sanctify the home from any inauspiciousness. For this ceremony, a shrine room is prepared with a picture of a deity and a small oil lamp in the north-east direction of the house. Griha Pravesh is usually centred on Lord Ganesh (the elephant-headed god), who is regarded as the protector of mankind and the one who bestows good fortune and riches to a family.

Boiling milk

The ritual that follows the Griha Pravesh ceremony is boiling milk until it spills over the rim of a new open-pot. This symbolizes the abundance of prosperity and food which will bless the house. A glass of that milk is then offered to God and the rest of it is served to the family members. This gesture signifies that both joys and sorrows are to be shared amongst the family member.

Precautionary measure to ward off negative forces

Fresh chilies and limes are threaded together on the front doorway to protect the home and family off any undesirable intentions or ‘evil eye’ that may be brought to the house by visitors or strangers.

These rituals help make your home a haven. After all:

“Home is where love resides,

where memories are created.

friends are always welcome

and laughter never ends.”

Indian Weddings are indeed a grand affair

A Hindu wedding is one of the most sacred institutions, which incorporates many of these timeless rituals and traditions. These traditions and rituals would extend over several days anywhere between 3-5 days. Indian weddings are not only a union between two likeminded hearts; but also a bond between two families. Once the families have agreed upon the commitment, a series of events take place over the next few days.

1. Engagement ceremony (also known as Ring ceremony)

This is a very important pre wedding ritual. The bride & groom exchange rings, this ritual is a formal declaration of the upcoming nuptials. Once the exchange of rings has taken place, the date of the wedding is proposed.

2. Mehendi & haldi ceremony

Henna is used to apply intricate designs to the brides hand and feet. The mehendi ceremony holds significance in Indian tradition. Mehendi signifies love and is considered to be highly auspicious if the bride can retain her mehendi colour for a longer time, it indicates more love from her partner/husband.

Most often the mehendi and haldi takes place on the same day. Haldi and rose water is known to give you a flawless and a brighter complexion. This paste is applied to both the bride and groom at their respective places by elderly members of their families before they are washed by sacred water.

3. Sangeet Ceremony

Sangeet takes places after mehendi and before the big day. This adds the fun element to the wedding. This is where both the families get together to perform song-dance routines. This is a celebration of coming together of both the families. Women in the house get together and sing traditional wedding
songs to the bride.

4. Wedding day Indian

weddings are a special affair, to say the least. The mandap ceremony is performed in front of a sacred fire and hymns recited by the priest while the bride and groom take seven pheras (7 vows).
The wedding represents the bride’s parents giving her away to the chosen one. This is then followed by the Vidai ceremony. Vidai Ceremony symbolizes a new journey for the bride as she departs from
her parents’ house to go with her husband. A new life replete with new hopes and dreams beckons her. Vidai Ceremony is an affair of both joy and sorrow for the bride. You will see a sentimental outburst of emotions from the bride’s family. During Vidai Ceremony, the bride’s father formally gives away his daughter to her husband and wishes for her wellbeing.

5. Reception

This is the first appearance of the couple together after the wedding. The primary objective of the Reception Ceremony is to get the bride introduced to the family and friends. This event takes place immediately after the wedding. A lavish spread of appetizing dishes is offered to the guests who
come to give blessings to the newlywed.

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North Indian Hindu Wedding

“Smell of Flowers with Exchange of rings, scented envelopes filled with Blessings

Traditional attires on the queen and the king, is perfect and defines the Big Fat Indian Wedding”

Indian weddings are filled with charm and charisma and are extremely popular across the globe.

North Indian weddings are known to be loyal to their customs and traditions and bring loads of energy and exuberance to all the people present around.

No matter from where you belong, you will become a part of the sing and song. 

SAGAI/SAGAN/MANGNI/ROKA

This ceremony is performed at the groom’s house and is the first step towards the wedlock, which symbolizes the new relation between the two families. On this auspicious day, pundit performs the havan (sacred fire) around which the bride’s family sits with the groom. The bride’s father performs the Pooja (prayers) applies Tilak/Teeka on the groom’s forehead as a mark of blessing. He offers him with expensive gifts like gold, clothes, accessories and feeds him with sweets.

This is followed by Chunni Sadan/Chadhana, which is performed by the groom’s family and the bride. The mother in law of the bride offers her with saris, expensive gold/diamond jewelry, and feeds her with sweets. Relatives of the groom’s family feed the bride with dry-fruits and sweets and adorn her with the jewelry.

Once the above ceremonies are over, the bride and the groom exchange their rings and receive the blessings of all the elders and love from their family and friends.

“Sweets and gifts is what we receive

Performed by the pundit during sacred fire

Family and friends are all around us

Spreading love is all what we desire”

MEHNDI

Mehndi is another pre-wedding ritual performed in a north Indian wedding. Mehndi is a paste made from the powdered, dried leaves of the henna plant It is a form of body art where decorative designs are applied to the women’s palms and feet. This is also applied to the groom’s palms as a mark of Shagun. It is a common belief that the darker the color of the mehndi, the stronger will be the bond with her husband and mother in law. The groom’s name is hidden in the mehndi of the bride, and it is a common ritual for the groom to find his name on the bride’s palms. It is a belief that if he fails to do so, the bride will dominate the household after wedding.

“Smell of the green leaf on her palms

Turning from green to red and red to brown                                      

Mixed are the feelings of anxiety and excitement

Waiting for the day to come down”

SANGEET

Sangeet ceremony usually follows the Mehndi ceremony and is held at the bride’s home. The womenfolk of the household gather around the bride and engage themselves in dancing, singing and having fun. In the modern way of doing things, families hire DJ to play the music wherein all guests and families have their dance performances. The trend these days, involves Cocktail to be combined with Sangeet ceremony.

“Laughter and chatter is spread in the air

With family and friends all around

Dancing and singing on their favorite numbers

It’s amazing with all the lights and sound”

HALDI

Haldi ceremony is held separately at the respective houses of the bride and the groom. It takes place on the same day morning of the wedding D Day. In this ceremony, the bride and the groom are applied with thick coats of haldi (turmeric paste) on their faces, arms and legs by their families and friends. It also includes the relatives of the groom performing Pooja and touching the groom’s feet and shoulders with mango leaf that is dipped in haldi. It is traditionally believed that the antiseptic qualities of the haldi protects the couple from any cuts or bruises and keeps them healthy. It also infuses a natural glow to the skin.

“Bright and sunny as the day is here

Yellow is the color in the room

Fun and frolic is the theme today

Glowing are the bride and the groom”

SHAADI

On the day of the wedding, the groom’s family takes the transport to the wedding venue arranged by the bride’s family. Usually it is either a fancy car, decorated with flowers which is used as transport or a female white horse called Ghodi on which the groom will sit and ride in the Baraat. The Ghodi is fed with Chana as part of the ritual before the groom rides it. Friends, family members and relatives dance to their fullest on the dhol while reaching the venue of the wedding.

The bride, dressed in a beautiful lehenga or sari wearing heavy jewelry walks towards the Mandap. She is escorted by all her brothers holding chunni far above her head. This symbolizes, brothers handing over their sister to the groom, so that he takes care of her throughout his life. The bride and the groom exchange their garlands and sit next to each other. This ceremony is called Jai Mala.

The pundit performs the havan (sacred fire) around which the bride’s father will formally give his daughter’s hand to the husband-to-be. This ritual is called Kanyadaan.

The pundit will chant the 7 Vachan (7 promises/vows) that the couple must chant and agree to. This is followed by tying the couple together with a red chunni to take 7 rounds of the sacred fire. This ceremony is called Pheras. The pundit chants the sholkas and gives his blessings to the newly wed. The husband now puts red sindoor (vermillion) on the wife’s forehead and mangalsutra (holy necklace) around her neck as a sign of their marriage.

The bride now must leave her home officially and go to her new husband’s home (Sasusral). There is extreme pain and emotion, felt by the bride’s family as they are getting separated from their daughter. She walks away from the house by throwing rice to her parent’s home (Maika). This symbolizes that this home remains prosperous even after she leaves, as the daughter in Indian family is considered Goddess Lakshmi. This ceremony is the last one and is called Vidai.

With a pink of romance and blush of red

Deeper and stronger is my LOVE

Forever yours and always with you

Are the vows that have taken us high above

This day, this moment is what I have longed for

Waited and waited all my life

Tied the knot to be with each other

Together as Husband and Wife

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The Big Fat Indian Weddings

It is said that “Marriages are made in Heaven”, but in India, most marriages need an approval from the families of both the bride and groom. Marriage can be either love marriage or arranged marriage, but in both cases consent of respective families are important and sought after. Unlike the Western countries, wedding in India is a big social event especially if the bride or groom is the only child in the family. It’s an opportunity for the parents to display their social status and invite their relatives, friends, colleagues and associates to lavish events of the wedding. Yes, you heard it right, events and not a single event of tying nuptial knots followed by meals.

The Hindu wedding

Most Hindu weddings consist of multiple events spread across three to four days. Engagement being the first ritual of the wedding and marks the all-important approval of the families of both the bride and groom. Engagement period can last from few months to couple of years or can be a formality ritual clubbed with the wedding events. Engagement is followed by another ritual of setting up the wedding venue with prayers and limited attendance of close family members. Once the wedding venue is set-up, the bride’s family conduct the “Mehendi” ceremony which is the artistic application of natural henna on the hands and feet of the bride and other female members of the family.

The ceremony

“Mehendi” ceremony is followed by “Haldi” ceremony for both bride and groom. In “Haldi” ceremony, turmeric paste is applied on the body and face of bride and groom for extra glow on skin and purification of the body since turmeric is anti-septic. The evening marks the beginning of “Wedding songs event” where the female members of both families sing traditional wedding songs followed by the family and guests dancing and grooving to DJ music. Wedding songs event is generally accompanied by snacks, beverages and dinner.

On the wedding day, the bride’s family becomes the host of the event and the groom’s family come to the wedding venue as a “Baraat” which is essentially a procession of groom’s family and guests. The groom rides on a horse to the wedding venue and family and friends once again dance and groove to DJ music. Welcome of the groom and “Baraat” is done by the bride’s family and it’s a fun event with groom’s family trying to protect the groom from the pranks of the bride’s family members.

The wedding ceremony generally starts at the predefined auspicious time period and is marked by the bride’s father performing the “Kanyadaan” ritual which literally means giving the bride away to the groom. This is followed by “Hast-milap” the hand shake of bride and groom and tying of “Mangalsutra” – the wedding necklace on the bride by the groom. The wedding ceremony is then completed by “Saat-fere” which is the seven rounds of holy fire by bride and groom with seven vows followed by taking blessings from the elders. Food is served to the guests simultaneously during the wedding and normally continues for more time after the wedding is over.

Indian weddings are lavish and costly affairs with lot of spend on clothes, gold ornaments, gifts, home and venue decoration, food and beverage, travel arrangements, etc. It’s normal to have 1,000 to 1,500 invitees in a wedding which spans over three to four days and hence the famous title “The Big Fat Indian Weddings”.

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The significance of seven vows in Indian marriages

A Hindu wedding comprises a lot of customs and rituals. In fact, people of the earlier generations believe that the essence of a blissful married life is those rituals and customs. Among the many customs in a Hindu marriage a popular ritual is the seven vows or popularly known as Sapta Padi in Sanskrit. The word Sapta means seven and Padi means foot. The seven vows that are taken by the bride and the groom during the time of wedding signify the seven promises that they should abide by in a married life. The bride and the groom usually take the seven vows around the sacred fire which is an embodiment of the God of Fire.

Seven Vows of Indian Marriages

  1. The first Promise: In the first promise the groom assures that their love has become strong by taking the first leap of faith and he also promises to provide for the welfare of his wife and his family. The bride in turn promises to take the responsibility of the household.
  2. The second promise: When the second promise is taken the groom promises that he will protect his wife and family with all his might in the name of God. In return the bride promises that she will go on filling the heart of his spouse with courage and love. She commits to stand by his side through thick and thin.
  3. The third promise: As they take the third vow together the bride promises that she accepts her husband as the only man and all other men will be secondary in her life. The groom on the other hand promises to accept the bride as her wife and also commits to take care of her prosperity and well-being.
  4. Fourth Promise: During the fourth vow the groom accepts the fact that his wife has brought sanctity and auspiciousness in his life. During this promise the groom also prays to the Almighty for long and happy life. The bride in turn promises to bring happiness and harmony in the life of her husband with love, respect, and mutual understanding.
  5. The Fifth Promise: This is a wonderful promise whereby the groom accepts the bride as his best friend while the bride commits to bestow the groom with all love and care that she can.
  6. Sixth Promise: In the sixth promise the groom wishes all happiness of life for the bride while the bride promises to stay by his side come what may.
  7. Seventh Promise: This is the last and the best among all the vows. The bride promises that she has become his wife by the law of the Almighty, the holy fire and the Holy Scriptures. She will never deceive him and never let him down. The groom on the other hand commits as they walk the seventh step their companionship becomes eternal and they will remain with each other till death do them part.

It is true that these vows are an integral part of an Indian wedding but the main objective of the seven vows is to reinforce the intent of a man and woman to stay together as a couple through all the shades of life. It testifies the sacred institution of marriage.

 

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A beautiful marriage custom celebrated by Ahom community of Assam

A beautiful marriage custom celebrated by Ahom community of Assam. Ahom-an well-known dynasty which was able to rule all over Brahmaputra valley for almost around 600 years. The dynasty passed over long years ago, but their traditions are still followed by the people of their community proudly. Chaklang marriage is one of them

Chaklang-a marriage where prayers are verbally handed over the bride and groom by the Ahom priest named as “siring phukan”.He reminds the couple about the proud history of their ancestors in front of 101 sacred “saaki”(lamp made by clay).

In earlier days the duration of the marriage ceremony was performed for 9 days. Now it has been reduced to 3 days.

Rituals before wedding

The family of groom asks the hand of the bride by sending a gift called “sodhanibhar”, which is comprises of all glorious food items of Ahom community like duck, betel nuts etc. If the family of the bride accepts that, wedding date can be fixed.

1st day of chaklang marriage

The day starts with “joron-diya”ritual,where family of groom comes to gift her all traditional dresses and ornaments in front of the society. The ritual is followed by some holy traditional marriage song named as “biyanaam”. After the ritual gets over, bride family welcomes them for a royal lunch.

2nd day of chaklang marriage

The second day of chaklang marriage is called as “murot tel diya”.In this particular ritual, the priest worship the God Khoakham and offers him food. The priest goes for fishing to nearby river and the fish caught by him is cooked for the couple.

3rd day of chaklang marriage

The 3rd day is called as “chaklang day” which has plenty of rituals. The day starts with the ritual called “pani-tola”.All the married women of the community go to river with a colorful musical procession to bring water to bath bride and groom. They are seated under “kolgos”(banana tree)and bathed by their senior family members.

After that, Ahom wedding special attires are put on.The bridal attire is comprising of beautiful white and golden riha, sador and mekhela including Ahom traditional ornaments golpota,thuria etc.The attire of groom is a beautiful silk based white dress with a turban.

Once all the rituals are done in their own home,the groom has to go the bride’s home and he is accompanied by his family members and friends.Once they reach,they are welcomed by most beautiful way possible by the family of bride and the groom is requested to sit in front of maral-the main attraction of chaklang marriage,where a rangoli is surrounded by 101 sacred lamps.After the prayers are done, a part of cloth of bride is tied up with the groom called “lagna gathi” and all the people present over there bless them and pray for their long marital life.

After that, two royal rituals are done. The bride picks the “hangdang”(the royal sword) and asks the groom to take it. It means she allows him to protect her family from enemies. Once he accepts that, she gives him “kavas”- a protector weaved by her within a night. It means the kavas made by her with all love and pride will protect him in his bad times.

Then, panchamrita (a food mixture of curd, honey, milk, sugar and ghee) is given to the couple and the marriage rituals ended with playing the dice game-“pasha” by bride and groom.

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Indian Wedding Customs: A Look Into Its Beauty and Elegance

India has been always known for its colorful and loud celebrations. Wedding is also one of the beautiful celebrations in India celebrated usually between the months of November and June. Overloaded with alluring customs like mehendi, sangeet and poojas, Indian wedding ceremonies can be stretched to any span of time.

Yes! That’s very true. Sounds exciting?

Here, we are going to introduce a bunch of Indian traditions and ceremonies which all together makes a graceful wedding celebration.

Indian wedding is actually divided into three segments; pre-wedding customs, wedding customs and post-wedding customs.

Let us start with Pre-wedding customs.

Pre-Wedding Customs

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Among all, Muhurta is the primary and prominent ceremony conducted involving the priest where the date and time for the wedding gets decided. Following the same, people head to further wedding ceremonies.

Pre-wedding customs takes usually a week which is composed of ceremonies like Tilak, Sangeet and Mehendi.

In earlier days, Tilak ceremony is organized a month before the wedding, but now-a-days, it is conducted as per the ease of people. It is followed by Sangeet where, both, groom’s and bride’s family celebrate by dancing and singing.

Next, comes the Mehendi, the custom of beauty and elegance. It is an art of making designs on hands and feet using a herb called Heena.

Wedding Customs

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After the arrival of all the guests, relatives and friends, comes the most beautiful day, the wedding day which is again a packet of joy, music, dance and treat.

Wedding kicks off with the Baraat, the tradition of singing and dancing by groom’s family which is welcomed by the bride’s family. The Baraat includes luxury car or a horse and a music band. The groom and his family is then greeted by bride’s family at the venue.

Now, comes the most beautiful moment of Varmala when the bride and the groom exchanges flower garlands.

After a lot of dance and singing, guests enjoy the lavishing treat hosted by bride’s and groom’s family which consists of delicious Indian traditional food and beverages.

Holding the utmost importance during the entire wedding ceremony, Mandap is the tradition where the bride and the groom takes seven vows to be abide by them for life around auspicious fire. And, the groom ties mangalsutra, a necklace made up of black beads and puts sindoor or vermilion in bride’s hair parting.

Phew!! So, many exciting, beautiful and elegant ceremonies, isn’t it? It’s time, when we will take you to the post-wedding customs.

Post-wedding Customs

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India is full of traditions and customs, following which the bride and the groom takes blessings of their elder ones by touching their feet after completing all the ceremonies.

The bride then takes a sobbing farewell from her family. But before leaving, she throws handful of rice over her head to ensure that wealth and prosperity remains in her home forever. On reaching the groom’s house, the groom’s mother welcomes the new couple with a traditional aarti.

Furthermore, there are many wedding games conducted for the the bride and groom. And, in the evening or as per the ease, groom’s family organizes a reception party to introduce family members to the bride.

Did You Enjoy?

Wedding customs are beautiful, be it Indian or any other. Since, India is a diversified country and comprised of all kinds of cultures and traditions, you will find diversified wedding rituals also. So, here we have discussed the customs followed by majority of people. But, we are sure once you will delve knowing all of the, you will fall in love with them.

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Telugu traditional marriage “Pani Grahanam”- The Bond of Knot Tying

We see different forms of marriage in India, which are based on different cultures. Whatever may be the tradition, the meaning is only one. Here the marriage means going from one phase to another phase.     That means changing from bachelor life to family person. The marriage in Telugu culture can be seen as of handiness, as a dais of teaching new  responsibilities and they are made to move hand-in-hand signifying that they must live together up to the end of life winning the heart of one another. This is the main intention of this wedding process.

How to propose

It becomes the responsibility of the parents after observing the behaviour of the children on both sides. Earlier, the boy’s father used to search for the right daughter-in-law (propose). That’s why the person who is having the knowledge of the marriage science is taken to the girl’s house. By seeing the finance (money), genealogy, nature they decide the girl. In Telugu tradition, it is one custom that the boy and girl express their opinions through their parents without expressing directly.

Pelli chupulu

It is the occasion where both bride and groom see each other and elders of both sides will talk to each other and come forward with wedding plans.

Nischhitaaram or Engagment

It is the occasion where the auspicious time (sumuhurat) for marriage is fixed for the sake of welfare of both boy and girl. Generally there are seven muhurats named Abhijit, Godhulikaa, Bramhee, Daivee, Aasura, Aparaajita and Aadhaka.

Wedding preparations

There is a culture behind the wedding arrangements. In the tradition of ‘Athidi Devobava’ no obstacles are made to the guests in making arrangements. That’s why everyone feels responsible. Even today the marriage works are commenced by breaking yellow antennas and from that to the final step of handing over the bride to the bridegroom parents, all these are done with the participation of relatives and it will be lively every day. From the date of Wedding gesture, writing wedding invitation, preparing the bride and bride groom and the marriage and afterwards handing over of bride all it makes a 16 days festival.

Customs, traditions and habits involved in Hindu Marriage Ceremony

Preparing bride and groom, making wedding canopy and arranging the bride and bridegroom auspicious bath, with vedic hyms and marriage instruments are going hand in hand, the two wear new clothes and worship their community deity.

Snaatakam or Naandi

The meaning of snathudu means the person who bathed. All relatives apply the flour to bride and groom (Nalugu is a mixture of turmeric powder and flours) and see that they are bathed and dressed with new clothes.

Kaasiyatra

The bride wish to go to Kasi for his higher education and to stop him he is married with a girl. This is a fun event also.

Gowri Puja

The Gowri puja is done to signify that the marriage is not done for sexual purpose but done for ritual living. That’s why Gowri puja is performed by the bride before the marriage as it is auspicious. It is believed that Godess Gowridevi blesses the bride to live with her husband for long periods.

Kallu Kadagadam

The groom is considered as replica of God Narayana. The bride’s father cleans the feet of the bride groom in a new plate while bride’s mother pours water.

Kanyadaanam

The bride’s hand is kept in the hand of the bride groom along with a coconut.

Sumuhurtham

Cumin and jaggery will be kept on both heads.

Mangalasutradharana

“Mangalyam tantunaanenaa ……….twam

Jeeva saradaashutam”, with this hymn the bride ties the ‘Mangala sutra’ in the neck of the bride and puts three knots as number three is felt as auspicious.

Talambraalu

Purified and undistorted rice will be poured on the heads of bride and bridegroom by each other with the mantra.

Bramhamudi

Cloth edges of both are tied together. It means from now you are not single you are couple, that’s why whatever work is done it should be done together.

Agnihothram

They go round the pious fire asking to take care of him as a boy when he becomes old.

Naakabali (Nagavalli)

It is removing of the sight crimen that has occurred to girl. The marriage will complete after performing homa with 33 ‘Jyothis’.

Reception

The mini marriage that is held in groom’s house. When the bride comes to groom’s house they will invite them happily. Here the bride is asked to tell the name of her husband and the husband is asked the name of his wife. It is happy occasion.

Conclusion

All the Hindus believe the marriages are decided by God Brahma and that’s why they are performed auspiciously so that they are blessed.

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