The Essential Guide to Hindu Weddings: Engagement

January 17, 2014 - by Nadya

So now that you have a bit of an introduction to what Hindu weddings are all about, let's jump right in with the engagement traditions!

In India (and the world, really) today there are a bunch of different ways two people can go about getting Hindu married.  There's the classic and often stereotyped arranged marriage in which a groom or bride's parents choose the suitable suitors for their child.  There's the sort of half-arranged marriage in which the families of both individuals set up a meeting for the two so they can decide for themselves.

Then there are those modern, new-fangled marriages, affectionately called 'love matches,' in which those two crazy kids find each other and resolve to get married in a burst of Bollywood-type courage and romance.  These are only some of the most common ways in which people find their own partners fo' lyfe.  I'm sure there are loads others but I don't know about them because they haven't been made into movies yet.

But before anyone can get married, they have to get engaged.

Indian Wedding California by IQ Photo 3 width=

{photo by IQ Photography via Alok and Venu's Wedding}

Hindu Wedding: Introduction

Hindu Wedding Engagement  – You’re here!

Hindu Pre-Wedding Traditions

Hindu Wedding Traditions

Hindu Post-Wedding Traditions

Hindu Bridal Attire and Jewelry

Hindu Groom’s Attire

Hindu Wedding Food and Desserts

Hindu Wedding Shopping List

Some families like to hire a priest to cast a formal horoscope for both the bride and the groom.  This horoscope will show if the two are a suitable match for each other and will also help in determining the most auspicious day, the muhurat, for the ceremony.

If they aren't deemed compatible, there's this slightly odd, definitely disapproved of tradition of the bride marrying a banana or peepal tree, called the Kumbh Vivah.  In 2007, Miss World 1996 winner Aishwariya Rai Bachchan, when she was just a Rai, caused public outcry when she participated in the ancient tradition of marrying a tree to dispel all the bad luck her horoscope said she'd bring to her husband.  She was decried as a propagator of caste discrimination and misogyny.  The act of marrying a tree is in violation of Article 17 of the Indian Constitution, which prohibits untouchability, as it is considered a derogatory act against women.

{via Portal KBR}

This tradition, in astrology, only occurs if a 'manglik' girl is to marry a 'non-manglik' boy.  If the marriage were to go through, according to ancient superstitions, the girl could cause the death of her husband.

To be a 'manglik,' one must be born when  Mars (Mangal) is in the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 7th, 8th, or 12th house of the of the Vedic astrologic lunar chart.  Only 'manglik' girls must go through with the Kumbh Vivah.  'Manglik' boys are apparently not problematic in the slightest.

{via Pandit Junction}

On a slightly happier and less ridiculous note, it is also fairly common for Hindu families to throw an engagement party of sorts. This ceremony is called Mangni in North India and Nischitartham in South India. During the cereomny the fathers of both the bride and the groom vouch for the virtues of their child and make a formal announcement to all the party guests that their children will marry and their families will be joined.  The bride and the groom will exchange rings during this party to solidify their engagement.  This usually happens a few months before the wedding.

Gandhi_Sivakumaran_Kimberly_Photography_llc_Gandhi355_low width=

{photo by Kimberley Photography via Komal and Arvind's Engagement}

Now that we're done with the engagement stuff, on to the pre-wedding festivities!

Sources: Wedding DetailsPatheos, The Telegraph, Wikipedia -Mangal Dosha, and Feministing

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