HINDU MARRIAGES Most of the Hindu marriages conducted in India and elsewhere are both social and religious functions. There is no uniformity on their social side. These are based on local customs and traditions. On the religious side, with minor variations, they follow some specific rituals that are followed from the Vedas. The marriage ceremonies are called Vaidika.
Marriage ceremonies last two days, one day prior to the Muhurtha day and the day on which the actual wedding occurs. The day previous to the marriage, its customary practice to visit a nearby temple to offer many prayers. The Lagna Patrika, a document indicating the details of the BG & Bride and the timing and place of marriage, signed by the parents of the BG & Bride, is read out and signed by the two sets of parents. This serves the purpose of a formal agreement binding on both parties. The next day ceremonies start with Kasi Yatra, Malai Maatral and Oonjal (Jhoola).
These have no religious as such. These rituals vary from community to community. The Kasi Yatra ritual which is peculiar to Brahmin community is one when the father of the Bride symbolically weans away the BG from the pursuits of Brahmacharya, which is symbolically represented by his journey towards Kasi, the seat of Vedic culture knowledge, and requests him to enter Grahasthasrama by marrying his daughter. Oonjal, is a ladies ceremony, where BG & the Bride are made to sit in a swing and propitiation is done, to ward off the effect of evil eyes (bad peoples evil thoughts or curses) on the couple. The real and important Vedic side of the ceremony starts after the two rituals are performed.
The ceremony begins with the promise from the bride side to offer the girl in marriage. The bride than takes a bath in Holy water. Then the two worship their ancestors. The BG & Bride then garland each other. This is an important ritual wherein the girl is gifted away to the BGs family and the Bride loses her family identity completely. The Brides father makes BG sit in a seat and washes the feet of BG considering BG to be an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, the protector. At the time, BG recites a mantra which says: Let the holy water which is poured on my feet safeguard me against all enemies and let me glow in splendour equal to the Brahma.
He then takes a mixed liquid made of honey and curd. The Hindu marriage ceremony is very unique and involves several rituals. The Hindus strongly believe in their gods and their protection from evil and incur it in their marriage ritual.