Rituals range from weddings to coming of age ceremonies.
Indian wedding rituals were aimed to bring not only the bride and groom closer together, but also the families of each side as Indian weddings were not only regarded as a bond between two individuals, but also between two families.
This occurs the night before the weddings. Traditionally, the females on the bridal side are the ones who celebrate this event. To apply sophisticated designs to bride and other women’s feet and hands, someone from the family or a professional mehndi artist is hired. The create a jovial atmosphere, the guests usually dress in bright colors, sing songs of wedding, and dance to joy.
Barat is the festive procession where the groom escorted by his close friends and family members, reaches at the ingress of the hindu wedding venue, riding on the back of a fully decorated white horse.A professional dholi plays traditional beats and the friends and family members sing and dance around him. At the wedding venue, the barat is received by the family of the bride.
Lord Ganesh is the demolisher of all hindrances that’s why the ceremony is usually started by worshiping the Lord Ganesh for blessing. Bride and groom’s parents are guided by the priest to offer flowers, confectioneries and prayers.
Jai Mala or Exchange of Garlands
Floral garlands are exchanged by the groom and bride to signify their acceptance.
The hand of bride is placed in the hand of the groom by bride’s father after he dispenses holy water in the bride’s hand. This is indeed one of those cheered moments when he officially hands the groom his most valuable jewel. Cousin or the sister of the groom then tie a corner of groom’s shawl to the sari of the bride with coppor coins, betelnuts and rice. It symbolises the prosperity, unity and happiness in the lives of the couple. It is believed that the undying pledge of holy matrimony is represented by this knot.
Dharma, Artha, Karma and Moksha are the four objectives in life, keeping them in mind, groom and bride then complete seven circles around the Agni. As being the representer of divine energy, the bride leads first three circles. Signifying the completeness and balance, the groom then leads in the four circles.
After the mangalphere, the couple performs saptapadi or the “Seven Holy Steps” together. Each step starts by taking a blessed vow:
As long as we live, we will respect each other.
We will grow a balance in physical, spiritual and mental condition in our life.
We will share our endeavours and get wealth and prosper together.
Happiness, knowledge, and harmony will be acquired through love for each other in our life together.
We will have pious and brave children together.
In our life, we will remain faithful exercise longevity and self-restraint.
We will be lifetime partners and attain salvation.
After this the bride sits left to the groom, positioning herself closer to his heart. Lifelong protection is offered by the groom by securing mangalsutra around the neck of bride. He then applies sindoor on the top of bride’s forehead. Both of these signify groom’s devotion to bride and her status as married woman. Exchanging rings then takes place.
In the ears of the bride, females from both sides whisper blessings. Bride and groom then bow down to take blessings from the priest, elder relatives and both the parents. Meanwhile, the guests throwrice and flowers on the couple, wishing them a prospers, happy and long married life.
Upanayana/ Munji/ Thread Ceremony
Upanayana was an elaborate ceremony, that included rituals involving the family, the child and the teacher. A boy receives during this ceremony a sacred thread called Yajñopaveetam that he wears. The Yajñopavita ceremony announced that the child had entered into formal education.
This ceremony is essential to the members of the three higher classes and marks a boy's official acceptance into his varna. At this point he becomes "twice-born." Everyone has a first, biological birth, but when a young man seeks his spiritual identity he symbolically accepts a spiritual teacher as father and the Vedas as mother. He may also receive a new, spiritual name. At the ceremony, he receives the jenoi(sacred-thread), usually worn for his entire lifetime. It is replaced at intervals, but never removed until the new one has been put on. There is a separate samskara marking the beginning of education, but today the two ceremonies are often combined.
The ceremony itself involves shaving the head, bathing and wearing new clothes. The boy may also beg alms from his mother and from other relatives. There is a havan and the investiture of the sacred thread, which hangs over his left shoulder. The boy will then hear the Gayatri mantra from his priest or guru, who may give him a spiritual name to signify his "second birth". Thereafter, wrapping the thread round the thumb of his right hand, he will chant this prayer thrice daily, at dawn, noon, and dusk. The boy takes vows to study the Vedas, serve his teachers and follow certain vows, including celibacy. He often concludes the ceremony by offering the traditional dakshina (gift) to his teacher.
The main point of having gone through the Upanayana ceremony is the wearing of the Yajñopavītam on the body. The Yajñopavītam is circular, being tied end-to-end (only one knot is permissible); it is normally supported on the left shoulder (savya) and wrapped around the body, falling underneath the right arm. The length of the Yajñopavītam is generally 96 times the breadth of four fingers of a man, which is believed to be equal to his height. Each of the fingers represents one of the four states that the soul of a man experiences: waking, dreaming, dreamless sleep and knowledge of the absolute.