Excerpt from Regeti's Blog
Mandap (2), SouthAsian Wedding Decor.
While Indian weddings are similar to American/Christian events in the regards to getting ready, details, ceremony, cocktail hour, and the reception they tend to involve more traditions and rituals outside of the vow and ring exchange.
In the Christian ceremony the focus is the joining of the two as a couple where as in the Indian/Hindu culture and religion it is the joining and uniting of two families. As Christianity has the Bible, Hindus have what is called the Vedas, the spiritual scriptures that are the heart of India’s culture. The Vedas divide life into four distinct stages, or ashrams: studentship (brahmacharya ashram), householder (grahstha ashram), retirement (vanprastha ashram), and self-realization (sanyas ashram). Marriage, considered a samskara, or sacrament, is the transition from studentship to householder, and as such it forms the very foundation for the remaining two stages of life. Three-quarters of human life, then, depends on the success of marriage.
Hindu weddings take place inside a structure called a mandap. Taking anywhere from 2-3 hours or longer depending upon how involved the ceremony becomes. Brides typically are painted in elaborate mendhi or henna designs covering her hands and feet before the ceremonies begin. The following ceremonies are meant to honor the couple’s love and ensure the success of their marriage by invoking the blessings of various deities and joining the families in celebration. It is said that the darker and bolder that the Henna becomes shows the deep love that she will hold for her husband.
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