Thursday, September 3, 2009

Arya Samaj Wedding - Is It Going To Be THE Common Type Of Wedding Ritual, In The Future?

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We attended a wedding of our friend's daughter, last Sunday.  It was an inter-caste marriage. Both the bride and bridegroom are very well educated and decided to have an Arya Samaaj wedding.  I have heard about it but had not witnessed the wedding till now.  I had a notion that this type of wedding will not have any ritual, just exchange garlands, sign in the register and the wedding will be over.  But I was in for a surprise and a happy one.  

Normally, our Tamilian wedding has got so many rituals and everyone becomes so tired after the wedding - the bride and groom, parents and other close relatives, will have so much work that no one feels relaxed and happy, for quite sometime.  Some rituals, like oonjal (swing), the bride and groom exchanging garlands, etc. are fun to watch.  Otherwise, it is so long that the children (bride and groom) feel very sleepy, after the 'mangalya dhaaran'  ritual.  As soon as this maangalya dharan is over, people throw the flowers and rice on the children and run for lunch.  But the ritual for the children continue.  No other person will have the patience to sit with them.  They will be all alone with the Purohit, in front of the hot 'havan kund', sweating, in Chennai weather!

So, I loved this short but perfect wedding ritual of  'one hour',  very much.  The person who conducted the wedding,  was a member of the Arya Samaaj.  He is a Hindi Professor, in a college. The rituals were very simple, but everything was done, according to the Vedas.  He recited every mantra, slowly, splitting every word, according to the meaning and asked both the bride and bridegroom to repeat,  together.  He translated the meaning into Tamil and I think everyone liked it.  

He said that during the Veda period, 'maangalya dhaaran' ritual was not there.  We are doing it only for the past 2000 years.  So 'maangalya dhaaran' was done as the concluding ritual.  Let me explain, not in full detail, but like, just a glimpse of the rituals.

For the ritual of 'Kanyaadaan', the Bride, Groom and the bride's parents, kept their palms one upon another and the mantras were repeated by all the four.

Next came 'Pratigya Mantra', which is a a ritual solemnizing the marriage. The husband makes six marital vows holding his wife's hands. These vows make the marriage strong and sacred.

The Arya Samaj wedding ceremony is performed with the fire and other elements as the witnesses since they don't believe in idol worshipping. So, The couple take four rounds of the fire one for each four ashrams in the vedic age.

Then comes, Saptapadhi. The ends of the bride's sari and the groom's shawl are tied together. The saptapadikriya or seven steps taken by the couple signify their seven needs: nourishment, strength, wealth obtained through honest means, good health, progeny, good luck and a loving relationship. In this, the groom was keeping his hands on the shoulder of the bride and they took the step together.

We have this ritual in our wedding also - shilarohan.  The groom lifts the foot of his bride and keeps it on the grinding stone (small one, which we call ammikkal).  Here, the brother of the bride places her foot on a stone, while the groom recites mantras. He prays that their marriage be as firm and steady as the rock on which he has placed his sister's foot.

Maangalya dhaaran:   The golden maangalyam which was in a yellow thread was placed in a plate with coconut and flowers and taken around for blessings  of the elders first.  Then the Purohit asked the groom to hold it in his two hands in front of the bride and repeat the mantras.  The three knots were tied, one by the groom and the rest by his sister.

Normally, everyone showers coloured rice (akshat) or flowers on the couple, congratulate them and their parents and leave for the dining hall, immediately,  after maangalya dhaaran.  Here, we were asked to hold the flowers  in our hands, repeat the 'ashirwaad' mantra together and then bless the newly weds with the flowers and rice.  The whole hall was vibrating with the sound of the ashirwaad mantra. This was the best part, which should be included in our rituals too.

I noticed one more thing - normally, only the men are asked to pour ghee in the havan.  Here, the bride and the groom did it together and the mothers (boy's and girl's) were asked to put hand pound red rice, into the havan kund, for every mantra.

In the end, the newly weds fed each other with laddus, signed their names as man and wife in the Arya Samaaj register.  

They will live happily ever after!

We liked this wedding very much.   What are your views please?

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38 comments :

hitchwriter said...

Me hates traditional weddings frankly...

and all rituals sound some waht silly...

having said that I did get wedded by Arya samaj vidhi...

as my parents and my wife's parents both didnt pre decide what customs to be followed.. so the pandit himself went ahead and did it... as we both had diffrent customs...

but really... I dont have much opinions about rituals..

i would love to have a big party the night before... with friends and my wife and her friends...

next day sign in some court... seek blessings of parents... and offffff

to the MOST Important honeymoon !!!! :D :D :D

Sandhya said...

I remember reading about your wedding in one of your post. My son also hates rituals. So I am getting more interested in this, now.

Seek blessings of parents...yes, Dhiren. I feel it is very important.
I wrote a line replying to your last line! Forget it!

wordsndreamz said...

This makes so much sense, Sandhya!

As you say, this might well be the future.. Going back to the basics, trimming all the unnecessary fanfare, and yet having a wonderfully meaningful wedding, where the couple are totally aware of everything that is being done... I think it makes so much more sense.. than rituals that go on and on and the couple just wanting to get through it.. not even understanding the concepts behind the shlokas.. And here it seems perfect - he even explained everything in Tamil!

I agree with you - it sounds a wonderful way to get married!

wordsndreamz said...

We got married in the Kerala style - which is rather quick - so we were spared all the long rituals - but I have seen my friends who get dead tired at the end of it all.. Plus in some communities, the girl and her parents also fast - so it gets very exhausting for them.. I think Arya Samaj wedding is wonderful that way..

Sandhya said...

wordsndreamz: And think of the unnecessary expenditure...here, one silk saree and a silk dhothi and kurta for the girl and boy! The parents and the siblings of the boy and girl may have new clothes. Done. Pooja/havan expenses were minimal. The purohit was very sincere in what he was doing.

Fasting was followed earlier in our community too...now everything is diluted!

I have seen a CD of my neighbour's Kerala style wedding. They keep one wooden or brass drum (marakkaal, we say), full of paddy and paddy flowers. I don't remember it exactly what they did, but remember the girl and boy doing pradakshina. Within minutes, it was over. And the cream clothes - typical malayaalee saree, nice and simple.

My sis-in-law's one daughter-in-law is from Vaikom and she wants to marry off her daughter in Kerala style wedding!

hitch writer said...

arre.... what about the last line ???

bolo bolo... tell tell...

kavita said...

It sounds not only very convenient but also containing all the needed rituals in moderate dosages....here in Assam people following Shankardev culture too have this kind of marriages...My departed sister-in-law(Chandan's sister) had this kind of marriage because the groom side followed Shankardev..the ceremony was over in one and half hrs.

Shobu said...

hi sandhya,

the concept of the whole wedding hall reverberating with the ashirwad sloka is indeed lovely.. would have loved to have it for my wedding. just happened to pass by your blog.. nice job. bye

Varunavi said...

Nice post sandhya,loved the way u wrote about each ritual in the wedding.

I always used to tell my mom not to spend too much on the traditional wedding with costly and heavy sarees and 200 plus guest.But she didn't listen to me saying she loves this type of wedding and what people say if u get married in arya samaj.People there have a wrong impression about the arya samaj wedding.
Nice to know that arya samaj follow all the rituals.

Brahmins wedding are more lengthy than the non-brahmins,my wedding was at early morning 1.00 and all the guest were sleeping and it is only me,hubby,my mom,m-law and the purohit were awake.

Sandhya said...

hitchwriter: Mein to subkuch bhool jaathi hoon, Dhiren! yaad aayi to bataathi hoon!

Sandhya said...

kavita: Sorry to hear about your sister-in-law. I feel this is better. In olden days, we did not have any other entertainment. My mother had 5-day wedding! Now, in this fast world, time and money saver, is, this type of wedding.

shobu: Welcome here, Shobu! Yes, I was very impressed by the 'ashirwaad' mantra.

Varunavi: I just wanted everyone, who are not familiar with this type of wedding to know that all the important rituals of our Hindu religion is included in this form of wedding. I liked the way, the Purohit explained each and every mantra, with so much patience. I never knew the details of these rituals, till now. It is so interesting. I feel proud to be a Hindu, Saritha.

My wedding took place at Thirumala, Thirupati. It was not very very elaborate, but all the rituals were followed.

I am sure, slowly people will change, Saritha. I am going to try this with my son, if the girl's side agrees to it.

R. Ramesh said...

wonderful way to wed..those unwanted extravagance should be avoided....but compared to earlier days things r improving i think in the way people think about unwanted spending..god knows..anywy..gr8 post S..cheers

Sandhya said...

varunavi: I remember attending a Telugu wedding, as soon as I got married. The girl was wearing pure white saree and it was conducted at midnight. The girl's parents were my neighbors and nice people. Now, everything is changing, everywhere, Saritha.

Ramesh: Yes, Ramesh. The children have started insisting on simple weddings, now.

manju said...

Nice description of an Arya Samaj Wedding, Sandhya- it seems a good combinaton of simplicity and rituals.

It seems I am able to comment here today!:)

indianhomemaker said...

My dad told the pandit to finish everything fast :) He did it, and i have this joke that we never really got married, because the ceremony was not completed, so now we are living in sin :)

I feel the ceremony should make sense and yes it shouldn't be long.

But the fun, dressing, music, ccelebrations are basiclaly a matter of personal choice... if the expenses are shared by the boy and the girl's parents, or preferaly born by the couple, then it should be fine I guess...

mesoliloquy said...

Sandhya, For some odd reasons your blog was not getting updated on my reader and a reason why I always arrived late. In this case too the same happened. So I removed and added your blog link again and now see it updated.

Now coming to the post, one of my friends here had Arya Samaj wedding and I know couple of them choose to these days. It works for people if they have different rituals and don't believe in traditional wedding.

Personally, if you ask me. I LOVE weddings. I feel that in your life you only marry once (that is if you choose your partner well ;) ) and I want to enjoy all the customs, the pampering etc.

I was not like this before. My husband and I had told our parents that we prefer register marriage with their blessings but obviously my husband being only child and I being only daughter (I have a brother), our parents had dreams about us and we as children didn't want to break that. Whatever gave them happiness, gave us too. So we had a lavish wedding. I thought it was waste of money then. But now I think it was our parents' hard earned money and they could spend it as they wish. Everything in life needn't be a charity. They do enough charity but then they have kept money for their children aside which they want to spend as they please then I think they have every right to.

Kerala customs thankfully aren't too chauvinistic. Also, I believe that I needn't hate every custom there is if it doesn't hurt all.

I have dreams of seeing my daughter as a beautiful bride but if she and her partner chooses to do things differently then I will respect that too. We have divided accounts in her name for marriage, higher education etc. So if they choose to not want a lavish wedding then we will just gift them the money. :) :)

mesoliloquy said...

Sandhya, my response is so long. :)))

Sandhya said...

solilo, IHM: Kitchen cleaning today. will be back later to reply. Don't worry, Solilo, you must have got used to my looong comments and loooong replies, by now!!!

SG said...

Nice post and good information. But I personally prefer traditional wedding. We get married only once in a life time. At least we think that way. So why rush? If we go through this long traditional way, we will remember that "most important day" for ever.

Sandhya said...

Manju: Yes, I liked the way they did the rituals without much hungama and we understood what and why we are doing these rituals. Otherwise, unless there was pre-agreement, both families argue on which tradition (even small small differences) to follow. Mostly, the tradition of the girl's side before 'kanyaadaan' and boy's side tradition after that, is followed. In this wedding, both families' traditions were entirely different and this type of wedding suited best.

IHM: My friend's daughter's main wedding ceremony was according to Arya Samaaj - though it was conducted in a hall with around 300 guests. They had 'mehandi' (with music) ceremony the day before and a huge reception in a famous hall, the next day. Yes, as you said, fun, dressing etc. is important and everything was here, in this wedding too!

Solilo: It was happening to me also. Whenever, the blogs got updated in my blog and go there, more than 60-80 responses were there! So I feel bad, most of the time.

I never knew that the Arya Samaaj Wedding covered nearly all the rituals, we follow in our wedding. You must have seen in Tamil wedding..the oonjal ceremony is fun and exchanging of garland after 'kaasi yathra' is fun. Only these types of traditions were not there.

I have seen Kerala wedding CD of my neighbour. It was nice. After reading in my post that I liked this type of wedding, all my relatives are worried! I liked the rituals and they did all the rituals we do in our traditional type of wedding. I know very well that it is going to be minimum 3 day Tamil traditional wedding...if my sons agree to it! We will see! Both sides of my family are crazy about music. Other things...we keep our fingers crossed! It will be done as per the wishes of the children.

Who knows, my sons and their brides also might think, like you think, Solilo!

You are a good daughter and your daughter will be like you.

SG: This type of wedding is a new experience for me. I witnessed this for the first time. We can keep this in our mind, I think. I see that most of the children who are abroad also, like to have a traditional wedding. In this wedding, the rituals were followed properly, but not in an elaborate way.

destinationinfinity said...

People want to show off their wealth and status through a wedding. And I am sure the South-Andhra people are particular about this one - I am one myself!! Try reasoning with people that weddings ought to be simple! One of the reasons that customs have stayed is because people wanted it to. Not because they were forced. This Arya Samaj weddings are increasing, and having studied in an Arya Samaj school, I have very high opinions about arya samaj way of doing things. I hope more people accept this.

Destination Infinity

Renu said...

Lovely description Sandhya! your blog was not updating on my site, dont know why.

I like traditional marriage with the blessings of all the elders in the family,. we get married once only and it is a very special occasion. My daughter got married exactly the same way you have described. And I wanted to do every expense my self, I didnt allow even my brother to share anything though he wanted to, since my daughter is the only girl in the whole family.That was a lifetime occasion for me and I wanted to do everything what I could do or afford.


Before that we had two more days of functions like mehndi, sangeet, gauri pooja etc, since both the sides were from different state, rituals got doubled:) but everybody enjoyed so much, that they still remebr it.

Sandhya said...

Destination Infinity: I admired their way of doing the rituals. I believe in our rituals and the purohit translated the mantras into Tamil. That was the best part. So we know what we are doing. Spending money can be done, before or after marriage, here also! They are not involved. He was very well read and respectable - the Purohit. I never knew that they run a school in Chennai. I had a notion that Arya Samaaj is famous in North and Eastern India.

Renu: I saw the photographs of your daughter's wedding when I came there. She looked great.

I too believe in rituals, which are important, Renu. Rest of the things can be done according to our wish.

radha said...

My daughter too had an Arya Samaj wedding. The priests explain the various rituals and that lends meaning to the whole ceremony. They do add some humour to the proceedings also! The guests enjoyed it too.

And very economical too!

Sandhya said...

Radha: Welcome to my blog! Yes, here, in this wedding too, the purohit was explaining the rituals with a bit of sense of humour thrown into it. I understood the concept of rituals, in this wedding, fully, Radha.

destinationinfinity said...

The DAV group of institutions is run by Arya Samaj Trust in Chennai. An excellent place to study.

Destination Infinity

Sandhya said...

Destination Infinity: DAV school is very famous, but I didn't know that it is run by Arya Samaj Trust. I know a couple of children who study there but no one mentions Arya Samaj.

Bharat said...

Very attractive and effective blog is created by the blog owner I like the way of present his view with visitors. I would like to come on this blog again and again. Arya Samaj Mandir in Delhi, Marriage in Arya Samaj

Sandhya said...

Bharat: Welcome here!

Thank you Bharat for the compliment! Please visit again and give your views on my posts!

Arya Samaj said...

Hi there. Nice blog. You have shared useful information. Keep up the good work! This blog is really interesting and gives good details. Arya samaj mandir, Arya samaj Delhi.

Arya Samaj said...

Hi there. Nice blog. You have shared useful information. Keep up the good work! This blog is really interesting and gives good details. Arya samaj mandir, Arya samaj Delhi.

Sandhya said...

Arya Samaj: Thank you! I liked your method of conducting the wedding, so wanted to write about it!

Hem said...

Hi Sandhya,

Would you have (or be able to get) contact of people who can do a proper Arya Samaj wedding in Chennai.

we are looking for one who is experienced in the rituals.

Regards,
Hem

Sandhya said...

Hem: Welcome here, Hem!

I am not able to contact the people who went through the Arya Samaj wedding, here, in Chennai. I got the address through the net. Please contact them.

No 183, Lloyds Road, Avvai Shanmugam Salai Near DAV Girls Higher Secondary School, Royapettah, Chennai - 600014

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Arya Samaj Mandir said...

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Anonymous said...

hi friends;

i am a christiaan boy and my girl friend whom i need to marry is an hindu,
i am ready to do hindu marriage and then converted to hindu ,please anyone help me with this.

do i want to change my name? also

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