July 5, 2011

It was absolutely amazing to witness Yash and Linda’s vibrant and beautiful Hindu wedding ceremony.  The ceremony was steeped in rich tradition thousands of years old and each ritual has deep philosophical meaning and purpose.  The importance of love, mutual respect and everlasting commitment is paramount, culminating in a sacred spiritual partnership between two souls.  The ceremony includes many symbols including fresh flowers signifying beauty, coconut signifying fertility, the grains signifying food necessary to sustain life, ghee (clarified butter) to feed the sacred fire and kumkum (red powder) signifying good luck.

Venue: Club Continental
Makeup: Ha Vo
Hair: Kimberly Clarke Salon

Yash arrives at the entrance of the courtyard accompanied by his family. He is greeted by the Linda’s parents, matron of honor and bridesmaid. Linda’s mother welcomes Yash by placing an auspicious red turmeric mark on his forehead called “Tilak”.

Linda’s family escorts Yash to the mandap (altar).

Yash awaits his bride hidden behind a cloth held up by the best man and matron of honor.

Linda is escorted to the mandap by her father.

After a prayer to the gods by Linda’s parents, the cloth is removed and the couple greet each other.

The bride and groom exchange garlands to signify their formal acceptance of each other in marriage.

The ends of the wedding scarves worn by the couple are tied together by Yash’s sister with beetle nut, copper coins, and rice signifying unity, prosperity and happiness.

The priest kindles the fire and the couple makes nine offerings to the fire to ask for the removal of darkness and ignorance.

Yash and Linda circle the fire four times. The four rounds represent the purpose of life: Dharma (spiritual way of living), Artha (prosperity), Karma (energy and passions) and Moksha (salvation). The bride, representing spiritual energy leads the first three rounds. The groom leads the last round signifying balance and completeness.

At the end of the fourth round, there is a rush by the bride and groom to get to their seat first as it is whoever sits first rules the house.

Yash offers Linda lifelong protection by giving her a Mangalsutra, a sacred necklace made of black and gold beads and placing a sindhoor (red powder) on the crown of her forehead. These two offerings signify the mark of a married woman and act as a symbol of Yash’s devotion to Linda.

Several married women from the groom’s side (mom, sister and sister-in-law) and the bride’s side (friends) greet the married couple and whisper in Linda’s right ear special advice for a long and happy married life.

The ring exchange brings in western tradition.