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Sociology Religion - Essay Example

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Hindu customs and rituals involve a long process of identification of possible suitors, pre-wedding arrangements and the wedding arrangements as well as the post wedding rituals. The wedding itself is considered to be a sacrifice to the fire deity, Agni…
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Sociology Religion
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Sociology Religion

Download file to see previous pages... The wedding itself is considered to be a sacrifice to the fire deity, Agni. A wedding ceremony cannot thus be considered complete without the completion of the fire ritual. In the ritual, sacred fire encirclements are made around the bride and the groom to signify unity. This custom is however getting faced out with some of the religions within the Hindu culture. The wedding culminates after a precision of processes that include courtship and the pre-wedding. During courtship, the bride’s parents and the groom’s parents agree on common terms for their son and daughter to begin dating. The dating is however formal and restricted. During this time, the groom’s parents organize visits to the prospective bride’s home and take their son along with them. Such is meant for the bride and the groom to first get acquainted formally. Then, informal meetings between the two can be arranged for them to develop a connection. During this time, it is expected that a lady may have several suitors and date them till the appropriate time to choose a suitor. The same is the case with the man. The prospective groom has to go on several dates to find the compatible partner for there to be a match. The pre-wedding ceremony involves engagement in which two forms of engagement are done. The verbal engagement, known as the vagdana and the written agreement is known as lagna-patra. Wedding arrangements begin immediately the lagna-patra is signed as the wedding is taken seriously and may take several feasting days depending on the wealth of the couple. Typically, the celebrations begin when the bride is taken to her new home but it may be by the time the dowry is paid. In India, the bride pays the dowry unlike most cultures and religions where the groom is expected to pay the dowry. A wedding ceremony is considered holy and thus conducted using the holy language Sanskrit. However, as times change, some wedding rituals have been dropped to accommodate intermarriage of Hindus with other religions in India. During the wedding, two main rituals are conducted. The first is the saptapadi. Saptadi is a Sanskrit word that means ‘seven steps’. Essentially, the couple conducts seven circuits of the holy fire (Agni). The essence of this is that the holy fire is considered a witness to the vows they make. The vows must thus not be broken as it would be considered a sacrilege to do so. The manner in which the circuit ritual is conducted differs from North, South and central India. In the north, the first six circuits are led by the bride with the groom leading the last one. In central India, the bride leads the first three circuits while the groom leads the remaining four circuits. The second ritual is the shanthi muhurtham. This ritual involves decoration of the matrimonial bed. It is expected in Hindu culture that the wedding night is the night of consummation of the marriage. The ritual is performed by the groom’s relatives. The government of India acknowledges intermarriage between various religious sects as legal. Intermarriages involving the Hindu and other cultures or religion is conducted based on such culture and religion. In most Hindu weddings, a sense of pride, purity and heritage is maintained. The bride and the groom must be presented to the ceremony as chaste. This entails not bringing children born out of wedlock to the ceremony. Hindu traditions strongly oppose remarriage and divorce. It is considered that once a couple ties the knot, they are unified forever by the god of fire. The possibility of divorce is thus not admissible. Conclusion Indian weddings are fun to attend as they involve a lot of interesting rituals. The importance of the rituals is often ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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