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Hindu Wedding Rituals 13 Steps of a Vedic Marriage Ceremony BY Dr Commander Selvam- Swamiji Sri Selvam Siddhar


While various regional steps are followed by different sects of Hindus across India, the following 13 steps form the core of a Vedic wedding ceremony:

·         Vara Satkaarah - Reception of the bridegroom and his kinsmen at the entrance gate of the wedding hall where the officiating priest chants a few mantras and the bride's mother blesses the groom with rice and trefoil and applies tilak of vermilion and turmeric powder.

·         Madhuparka Ceremony - Reception of the bridegroom at the altar and bestowing of presents by the bride's father.

·         Kanya Dan - The bride's father gives away his daughter to the groom amidst the chanting of sacred mantras.

·         Vivah-Homa - The sacred fire ceremony ascertaining that all auspicious undertakings are begun in an atmosphere of purity and spirituality.

·         Pani-Grahan - The groom takes the right hand of the bride in his left hand and accepts her as his lawfully wedded wife.

·         Pratigna-Karan - The couple walk round the fire, the bride leading, and take solemn vows of loyalty, steadfast love and life-long fidelity to each other.

·         Shila Arohan - The mother of the bride assists her to step onto a stone slab and counsels her to prepare herself for a new life.

·         Laja-Homah - Puffed rice offered as oblations into the sacred fire by the bride while keeping the palms of her hands over those of the groom.

·         Parikrama or Pradakshina or Mangal Fera - The couple circles the sacred fire seven times. This aspect of the ceremony legalizes the marriage according to the Hindu Marriage Act as well custom.

·         Saptapadi - Marriage knot symbolized by tying one end of the groom's scarf with the bride's dress. Then they take seven steps representing nourishment, strength, prosperity, happiness, progeny, long life and harmony and understanding, respectively.

·         Abhishek - Sprinkling of water, meditating on the sun and the pole star.

·         Anna Praashan - The couple make food offerings into the fire then feed a morsel of food to each other expressing mutual love and affection.

·         Aashirvadah - Benediction by the elders.



·         Pre Wedding Rituals

The pre wedding rituals comprise of engagement, tilak, sagai, sangeet and mehandi. The Engagement can also be called the ring ceremony, wherein the prospective couple exchanges rings. Next is the Tilak ceremony, in which the bride's brother applies tilak to the groom and gives him
 gifts. After this, the Sagai ceremony is conducted in which both the parties exchange gifts. Then comes the Sangeet ceremony, wherein the female members sing and dance to rejoice the occasion. Just before the wedding, the Mehandi ceremony is organized, in which mehndi is applied on bride's hands and feet.

Wedding Rituals:

The wedding rituals begin with the Jaimala ceremony, in which the bride and the groom exchange
 flower garlands. After this, they are taken to the mandap where the Kanyadaan ritual is performed. In this ritual, the bride's father gives away his daughter to the groom, while the priest chants mantras. After this, the Mangalpheras take place around the sacred fire. They also take the seven vows called Saptapadi, and promise to abide by them throughout their lives. After this, the groom puts sindoor or vermillion in the bride's hair parting. This is followed by tying of mangalsutra around the bride's neck by the groom. 

Post Wedding Rituals

·         The post wedding rituals comprise of vidaai and reception. In the Vidaai ceremony the family of the bride gives her a sobbing farewell. Before leaving, the bride throws back three handful of rice and coin over her shoulders, towards her parental home. This is done to ensure wealth and prosperity remains in her home forever. On the arrival at the groom's house, the new couple is welcomed by the groom's mother, with a traditional aarti. 

The bride is asked to knock a vessel filled with rice, kept at the entrance. She then dips her feet in a mixture of red vermillion and enters the house, leaving foot prints on the floor. This ritual is practiced as the bride is considered a form of Goddess Laxmi. After this, a number of wedding games are played to make the bride comfortable. Furthermore, a reception party is organized by the groom's family in the evening. This is organized to welcome the new member and introduce her to the associates.


Here's why Groom on the Right, Bride on the Left

·         hy grooms usually stand on the right and brides on the left during a wedding ceremony.

·         Long ago, the right arm was considered the sword arm of most fighting men. If a man had to protect his bride, he would hold her with his left hand, and fight off attackers with his right arm.

·         The reason that men may have had to fight off others was because quite often women were kidnapped. Family members naturally wanted to rescue the stolen brides. Sometimes even during the wedding ceremony, the grooms had to fight off other men who were desirous of their brides, along with the bride's family members. So having his right arm free was an important strategy.

·         This tradition is followed today by when facing the officiant, having the bride stand to the left, and the groom stand to the right.

·         Another reason is that the union of the right hands of the bride and groom symbolizes their union as one, their strength in being together, and the combined resources that they bring to their marriage.

·         During a Jewish ceremony, the bride is often on the right and the groom is on the left.

Hindu marriages are the most lavish and extensive. They extend over a period of four to five days. They are highly traditional and strongly adhere to the ancient customs and traditions. Moreover, wedding is considered an important religious practice in Hindu religion. It is held as one of sacred sixteen sanskaras or sacraments. It is not just the bond between two people but also between two families. The Hindu marriage is primarily divided into three segments, pre wedding rituals, wedding rituals, and post wedding rituals.


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