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Hindu Program Book - Style 1
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XXX and

June 3rd, 2006


The Hindu wedding ceremony is a sacrament contained within the Vedas (Ancient Hindu scriptures), from the Vedic period, which historians place between 3000-5000 B.C.  The marriage ceremony is the thirteenth among the sixteen samskara, or rites of passage that a Hindu observes during his or her lifetime.  The marriage is performed to unite two souls so firmly that, although their bodies remain separate, their souls unite and harmoniously become one.  The couple embarks on a new life enriched by their union with the blessings of God, their ancestors and elders, and the good wishes of all of their friends and relatives.  The wedding takes place under the sacred alter known as the mandapam.  The four pillars of the mandapam symbolize the four parents of the bride and groom, and the vital role they have played in raising their children, sheltering, and supporting them
.  The ceremony embraces the five elements of nature: fire, earth, water, air, and light.  These elements play an integral part in the ceremony.  The priest will read mantras from the Holy Scriptures in Sanskrit, the root of all modern Indian languages.  The ceremony commences with the music of Naadaswaram, an Indian wind instrument.  The marriage rites are as follows:

Gowri Puja

In a private ceremony before the start of the wedding, the bride performs a puja to invoke the blessings of Goddess Gowri, the icon of an ideal wife for a long, prosperous, and happy married life.

Arrival of the Groom and Ganesha Puja

The groom is escorted to the mandapam by his family members and friends, and is received by the bride’s parents.  He prepares himself for the ensuing marriage rites by performing a purification ceremony. This ceremony begins with a prayer to Lord Ganesha, who is the remover of all obstacles and symbolizes truth, friendship, and happiness.


Rakshaabandhanam (Bond of Protection)

A sanctified thread dipped in turmeric water, which protects the wearer from harms and trouble, is tied to the right wrist of the groom with the blessings of Durga, the Goddess of Power.    


Arrival of the Bride

Before the bride enters, a cloth screen is held in front of the groom.  The couple will not see each other until the “Sumuhurtham”, or auspicious moment previously determined by Hindu astrology. The maternal aunts of the bride escort her to the mandapam, followed by her female cousins and close friends.  The bride is carrying a coconut sprinkled with turmeric and kumkum (Vermillion powder) to ward off evil sprits.  She seats herself between her parents on the opposite side of the screen from the groom.


Kanyaadaanam (giving the bride away)
The bride’s father offers her hand to the groom and declares that on this auspicious day, he is giving his daughter away.  The groom takes her hand and together they take a solemn oath in the presence of God, to remain entirely devoted to each other.  They declare that their hearts have been united, and that they have become one. 

Sumuhurtham (Auspicious time of marriage)
This is the most auspicious time of the marriage when the bride and groom place a paste of brown sugar, turmeric powder and cumin on each other’s heads; the three ingredients of the mixture represent their commitment to share their life through sweet and bitter times.  The screen between the couple is then removed, signifying that the two separate individuals are now united in marriage. 

The groom ties the Mangala Sutra (the sacred thread with two gold pendants) around the bride’s neck, making three knots.  These knots symbolize the bonding between the two souls for a hundred years. 


The bride and groom shower each other with holy rice and flower petals, symbolizing a happy, prosperous, and peaceful married life, free of impediments. 

The couple holds hands and takes their vows in the presence of the Lord and of those assembled. They then exchange garlands.

To symbolize their union, the loose ends of the bride and groom’s garments are tied together in a matrimonial knot symbolizing a firm and lasting commitment.

A small fire is lit and the couple offers prayers to Agni, the God of fire, by placing butter and herbs into the flames.  Agni dispels the ignorance from our lives and leads us to eternal light and knowledge.

The couple takes seven steps around the fire, symbolic of the seven steps of life.  With each step, the couple takes a vow.



Together we shall cherish each other in sickness and in health, in happiness and in sorrow.
Together we shall be life-long friends.
Together we shall share each other’s ideals.
Together we shall nourish each other’s strengths, powers, and fortune.
Together we shall make each other happy.
Together we shall provide and care for our children.
Together we will look forward to the mysteries of the future with awe and spiritual unity.

The priest and family bless the newly married couple.

Mangala Harathi
The ceremony ends with the offering of good wishes to the bride and groom with lighted camphor.

The priest helps the couple to identify the star of Arundhati in the sky to which they pray to obtain the highest of blessings.

We would like to thank our family and friends for all their love and support through the years.

XXX and




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