Hindu marriages in India are held as per Vedic (वैदिक) verses in Sanskrit. Majority of the castes among Hindus speak Hindi for all interactions connected with an alliance. Hindi marriages are extensive as well as lavish in their styles. They will extend over a time span of four to six days. They are highly traditional in their expression and they stick to the ancient rituals and customs. Wedding is recognised as a vital religious practice among people who follow the Hindu religion. It is considered as one of the sixteen sacred sacraments or `sanskaras’ (संस्कार). Marriage, among the Hindi speaking people, is not just an alliance between two people but also between their families.
Hindi is the national language of India and it has its roots in Sanskrit. It has partially been influenced by the Urdu language. There are several communities and castes in India that use Hindi as their mother tongue. For example, the States of Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Delhi, Bihar and Haryana have a majority of their population speaking the Hindi language. The Hindi speaking members of the Indian communities are grouped together for Hindi matrimonial alliances. The Hindi matrimonial traditions and customs will differ from one state to another.
Some of the well known castes that fall under the Hindi matrimony grouping are the Aggarwals, the Saraswats, the Kayasths, the Rajputs and the Saryuparin Brahmins. Other community members such as the Yadavs, the Rajakas, the Khatris, the Sonars, the Kaurs and the Thakurs also practice related Hindi matrimonial rituals. The Saraswat and the Saryuparin Brahmins generally follow the Vedic customs and rituals of marriages. These Brahmin caste members have simple Hindi matrimonial functions. The Saraswat Brahmins are mainly from the region where the mythological Saraswati River had flowed. These community members had originally dwelt near those river banks. The Saraswat Brahmin community is now considered as one of the oldest communities residing in India and they have their own unique customs and culture. Their matrimonial rituals are preserved even to the present day. This community has numerous sub-communities like the Rajasthan Saraswat, the Kutch Saraswat, the Kashmiri Saraswat and the Sindhi Saraswat. Some of them are living in Konkan and Uttarakhand regions.
The Saryuparin Brahmin community comes from the eastern section of the Sarayu River and that is how their name is derived. These community members have now spread to other Indian states such as Bihar, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand. For the purpose of Hindi matrimonial alliances, the Saryuparin Brahmin communities generally consider related ethnic groups such as Jujhautiya Brahmins, Maithili Brahmins, Bhumihar, Kanyakubja Brahmins and Sanadhya Brahmins. Few common surnames that can be associated with these communities are Tiwari, Tripathi, Upadhyay, Mishra, Trivedi, Pandey and Shukla.
n addition to the Brahmin community, the Kayasth community also follows the customs and rituals under the Hindu matrimonial practices. These community members live in various regions of India and they are mainly found in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Few common surnames associated with his community are Karanam, Kanth, Bhatnagar, Saxena, Verma and Mohanty. Some of their important pre-wedding customs are Sagai (सागाई), Bariksha (बरिक्षा) and Mehndi (मेहंदी), Haldi (हल्दी) and Tilak (तिलक) ceremonies. The Kanya Daan (कन्यादान) ritual is also a very important one for them.
he Rajput communities belong to the warrior castes and they hail mainly from Rajasthan. They have also spread to other Hindi speaking areas of the country. The Hindi matrimonial alliances for the Rajputs consider Gotra and matching of the couple’s horoscopes. Important customs are the Tilak (तिलक) and the Sagai (सागाई) ceremonies and the Mel (मेल) or the community banquet. Other important rituals are the Nikasi (निन्कासी), the Dhukav (धाकव) and the Sehla (सेहला).
The Aggarwals are another important community in India and they also hail from Rajasthan and live in numerous Hindi speaking sections of India. They speak Hindi and their native language of Mewar. Important rituals for this community are the Baraat (शादी बारात), the Ashwahrohan (अश्वहुहान), the Var Mala (वर्माला) and the Vamang Sthapan (वामंग स्थान), Saat Pheras (सात मंडल), Doli Vidaa (डोली विदा), Pannigrahan (पानिग्राहन) and the Sindoor Daan (सिंदूर दान). This community is mainly occupied in trade and business. Their marriage celebrations are therefore lavish in nature and the number of attendees to their wedding functions is huge.Major Pre-Wedding Rituals of a Hindi Marriage
These rituals are mainly made up of Tilak (तिलक), Sagai (सगाई) and Mehndi (मेहंदी) and Sangeet (संगीत). The Sagai is the engagement ceremony and is also the exchange of rings between the couple. Gifts are also exchanged between the couple. The Tilak ceremony is a ritual where the bride’s brother applies `tilak’ to the groom and offers gifts to him. The Sangeet ceremony involves all female members of both the families who dance and sing. They rejoice and celebrate this grand occasion. One day before the wedding, the Mehndi ((मेहंदी) ceremony takes place. It is the application of sandalwood and turmeric paste on the hands and feet of the bride.Major Wedding Rituals of a Hindi Marriage
The wedding rituals during a Hindi marriage start with the Jai Mala (जय माला) ceremony. The bride and the groom exchange floral garlands. Then, they are taken to the mandap (मंडप) for the seven mangal pheras (मंगल फेरास) around the sacred fire or `hawan’ (हवन). They also take the seven vows known as Saptapadi and they promise to abide by each other throughout their lives. The groom puts vermilion or sindoor on the parting of the bride’s hair. The mangalsutra is then tied around the bride’s neck. Following this, the Kanya Daan ritual is performed where the bride’s family gives the hand of their daughter into the hands of the groom while the priest chants mantras from the Vedic Sanskrit scriptuMajor Post-Wedding Rituals of a Hindi Marriage
They are mainly made up of the Vidaai (विदाई) and the Reception ceremonies. During the Vidaai (विदाई) ceremony, the family of the bride bids her a tearful farewell as she leaves for her new house. Before the bride leaves the mandap, she will throw back three handfuls of rice and coins over her shoulder. This is to signify that the bride has now left her parental home and it indicates that wealth and happiness remains in her former house, forever.
When she arrives at the house of the groom, her new house; the couple is welcomed by the mother of the groom with a traditional aarti (आरती). The bride is then asked to knock a brass or a steel vessel filled with rice grains as a symbol of prosperity, entering the house. She then dips her feet in a mixture of red vermilion, before entering her new house. This ritual symbolises that the bride is always considered to be a form of Goddess Laxmi. Once the couple settles down in the groom’s house, wedding games are played to make the bride feel comfortable and at home. A Reception feast is then organised by the family of the groom. This feast is meant to welcome the bride and her family and to introduce them to the relatives and associates of the groom’s family.