Cultural Traditions: Indian Weddings
Baraat, saptapadi and sari
Let Them Eat Cake and New Orleans Bride Magazine are all about weddings – traditions, trends and everything between. Today a part of our ongoing Cultural Traditions series, we are exploring traditional Indian wedding celebrations.
Indian weddings typically are a three-day affair of parties, gatherings and ceremonies. We’ve previously highlighted the Mehndi ceremony, where the bride has her palms, wrists, arms, legs and feet adorned in the mehndi art (or henna), which takes place the day before the main wedding ceremony.
Though there are a good amount of traditions linked to an Indian wedding, there are a few that catch our eye. First, is the bride’s attire. Typically, anyone that attends an Indian wedding sports brightly colored clothing. The bride, however, is traditionally seen in a red gown or sari. This hue is rich, romantic, bold and looks beautiful with the gold detailing and accents that are added to the bride’s wedding look.
Two other traditions come from the wedding ceremony itself. The first is the groom’s entrance into the day. In Hindu weddings, the groom’s entrance or baraat is a sight to behold. He is led in on atop a white horse, decorated with flowers and an embroidered saddle just for the day, surrounded by friends and family. The groom’s friends and family who accompany him typically dance, sing and play music along side the processional. As the processional arrives at the wedding venue, the bride and her family stand in front waiting to greet him, which is known as the Milni – a meeting and merging of the two families as each member meets and shakes hands with their counterpart.
One of the most meaningful parts of the ceremony is the saptapadi, which translates to seven steps. At this point in the wedding ceremony, the bride and groom take seven steps around a sacred fire and make seven vows to each other. We found two translations or versions of each of the seven vows in a Huffington Post article:
1. Together we will live with respect for one another.
2. Together we will develop mental, physical and spiritual balance.
3. Together we will prosper, acquire wealth and share our accomplishments.
4. Together we will acquire happiness, harmony and knowledge through mutual love.
5. Together we will raise strong, virtuous children.
6. Together we will be faithful to one another and exercise self-restraint and longevity.
7. Together we will remain lifelong partners and achieve salvation.
1. May this couple be blessed with an abundance of resources and comforts, and be helpful to one another in all ways.
2. May this couple be strong and complement one another.
3. May this couple be blessed with prosperity and riches on all levels.
4. May this couple be eternally happy.
5. May this couple be blessed with a happy family life.
6. May this couple live in perfect harmony… true to their personal values and their joint promises.
7. May this couple always be the best of friends.
Do you know of another version of the vows? Please share them in the comments.