Well another day to show off what a gorgeous wedding Priya & Maneesh had. 🙂 So we’re into the actual ceremony now and I don’t know if you have ever had a chance to attend an Indian wedding but WOW are they…interactive. 😉 They are so far away from being anything like a Christian wedding. People talk, people move around…a lot, they get up, get down, hang around the mandap (altar) and take photos…there are so many things going on it’s hard to keep it straight. But we just hung on with both hands trying not to fall off. The fun part for me was when I took the time to learn the traditions associated with each part of the ceremony. It made the ceremony so much more interesting to me. It is a very spiritual, rather than religious so to speak, ritual. Each part of the ceremony is about uniting the bride and groom on a deep spiritual level. It was very lovely (and thanks to Priya’s informative paperwork I was ready for it!).
And here is the first part. This is where Priya & Maneesh saw each other for the first time, on a swing. During the Oonjal, or Swing Ceremony, the swinging of the chair signifies that the couple shall move in harmony, both in body and mind, while the bars (or chains on some swings) that hold the chair to the frame of the swing signifies the eternal karmic link with God. You can see how busy this part is. 🙂
Also during this part of the ceremony, the female relatives circle the swing several times, each taking a turn in washing Priya & Maneesh’s feet. I just loved the detail in Priya’s henna art.
And hands, hands, HANDS! For some reason it is the hands I tend to focus on during a Hindu wedding. Everything is so incredibly decorated and the hands are no exception. Very romantic.
And then comes one of the most important parts of the ceremony; the tying of the Thirumangalyam, which is the equivalent to the exchange of rings in the Judeo-Christian wedding. The Thirumangalyam consists of a sacred yellow thread, a gold chain and two gold pendants called mangalyas. The groom’s family provides the brie with the Thirumangalyam and the priest and the assembled audience bless the Thirumangalyam. It is then tied around the bride’s neck. The groom ties the first knot, signifying that he will forever remain her companion through joy and sorrow. And the groom’s sister tied the other two knots signifying her acceptance of the new bride as a sister and to formally welcome her into the new family.
In the three photos below you can see the elder women relatives preparing the Thirumangalyam and then the tying of the knot in the 3rd photo.
And I loved this part too; Arundhathi Parthal. This is when the priest took Priya & Maneesh outside to show them the stars of Arundhathi and Dhurva. In Hinduism, Arundhati and Dhurva emodied the qualities of devotion and perseverance that allowed them to obtain immortality and become stars. The ritual symbolizes virtues the couple should emulate during their marital life. I thought this was such a beautiful custom in the wedding tradition.