You’ll Be Surprised At What These Common Hindu Wedding Customs Really Mean
A Hindu wedding is replete with customs and rituals. There’s the mehendi, the haldi, the pheras and these are the big ones! There are plenty of other smaller rituals as well. But, how much do we know about what these common customs that make a wedding, a wedding, mean? Like, WHY must a bride put mehendi? Or, what is the significance of the saat pheras? Let’s take a look at some of these:
The elaborate henna designs painted on a bride’s hands and feet aren’t only for aesthetic purposes. Henna has a cooling and calming effect. We all know that weddings can be damn stressful. For this reason, a couple of days before the bride is to be wedded, mehendi is applied so that it can help her de-stress and enjoy the celebration.
Haldi is known for its medicinal properties. We all know that the ubtan applied on the bride’s face and body makes her skin glow. But, this yellow coloured concoction is also considered to be a part of the blessing offerings that attract happiness and longevity for the relationship. In fact, the colour yellow in general is said to be a symbol of happiness. This is why many people now urge their guests to wear yellow at the mehendi / haldi function.
Now, this is where things begin to get umm… sexist. The mangalsutra, which is a necklace made of black beads and gold (and allegedly, some saffron in there somewhere), is supposed to be worn by a married woman all her life, and is a symbol of her marital status. But, there’s more here… the necklace has three knots where the pendant would be. These three knots symbolise three things – obedience toward the husband, commitment toward his parents, and respect to God. Yep, that’s correct.
4. Saat pheras
The saat pheras signify the seven vows that a married couple takes, with fire as the supreme witness (agni ko sakshi maan kar and all that…). Although traditionally, these vows are pretty sexist, things are changing now. People are writing their own seven vows, and even some of the pundits who carry out the ritual are making room for gender equality.
Now, this one is pretty self-explanatory. In Hindu weddings, parents of the bride donate her to the groom and his family. Kanya = Daughter, Daan = Donate. Yep, you are the paraya dhan that is finally given away on the day of the wedding… Have fun with that one!