A few days ago, I attended an Indian wedding in Delhi. The groom was from Karnataka while the bride was a Punjabi so you can say that it was a cross-cultural Indian marriage.
A unique Indian wedding
I am writing about this Indian wedding because it amused me. Though I have attended several marriages before, this one stood out. No, there weren’t any elephants or camels in this party and neither there was much song and dance. In fact this marriage took place in a formal environment- at a five star hotel!
The men wore business suits while the ladies dressed up in sarees. So there was nothing outstanding about this wedding.
But why am I writing all this?
It is because of the panditji or the priest who was conducting the marriage.
Our marriages are conducted by priests who are well versed in Sanskrit and know all the rituals and customs. They come from the Brahmin class and are respected by the society.
These priests know all the Sanskrit shlokas or hymns by heart; many common Indians don’t. Most wedding priests that I have met, conduct the marriages with due discipline and seriousness. After all, Indian weddings are serious affairs.
But in the case of this panditji, things were a bit different.
For starters, he held a microphone so that everybody could hear his voice and instructions. Normally, we don’t use that instrument as the marriage rituals are supposed to be quiet affairs. While everyone present can watch the actual wedding ceremony, the priest’s attention is directed only to the bride, the groom and their parents.
But here, this panditji was gloriously holding his mike, explaining every hymn to all the guests patiently. I liked this approach. It made everyone a part of the occasion. He cracked jokes, pulled the legs of those getting married and all of us generally had a good time. This Indian wedding was truly a memorable occasion.
Higher than the fire!
The second interesting thing was that he was sitting in a chair. What’s the big deal, you might say? Don’t all the guests sit in chairs in a marriage party?
Also Read– 7 Hindu marriage rituals you should know
The big deal is that during the actual marriage rituals, every participant has to sit cross-legged on the ground. There s a sacred fire around which the bride, the groom and their parents sit on the ground. The reason is that Hindus consider this fire as a god and no mortal can sit in a seat higher than the fire. It is disrespectful, but here, things were different. Except for the bride and the groom, everyone else sat in chairs and all those chairs were at a higher level than that of the sacred fire.
Perhaps, these people who sat in their chairs could not bend their legs or maybe they did not know the custom. To be honest, I do not know the exact reason. But I found that strange.
Is India changing? Is the Indian wedding no longer a special occasion? Are we forgetting our customs? Or do we really care about them? These questions occupied my mind when I left the marriage venue.
Also read– http://www.ahauntedtravel.com/hindu-marriage-rituals-and-customs/http://www.ahauntedtravel.com/hindu-marriage-rituals-and-customs/