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Naidu Marriage Rituals


Naidu marriages have ceremonies, rites and rituals that are full of symbolism and rich significance. There is a strong emphasis on spirituality. The rites are conducted by a purohit or priest. The marriage usually takes place in any month with the exception of the months Aashad, Bhadrapad and Shunya, which are considered inauspicious for weddings.

The following are the rituals during the marriage:
Kanyadaan

The Naidu marriage ceremony is striking as well as fabulous. It has the girl's mama or the maternal uncle carrying the bride in a bamboo basket to the mandap. The bride is well adorned in a bright coloured saree and precious jewellery. It is customary for the bride to carry some betel leaves, betel nuts, a coconut, a sandalwood stick and a red pumpkin. The procedure of the marriage is such that a curtain is placed between the bride and groom, so that they do not see each other till the wedding is completed.


At the end of the marriage, the father and mother of the bride clean the boy's feet with water. It is done with the view that the groom is considered as a form of God. In most of the Hindu marriages, the groom is equalled to the god and the giving away of daughter in marriage to him is regarded as gifting the most loved thing of yours to Lord Vishnu himself. Also it is associated with the ritual practice of gifting a virgin to the groom who is no less than Vishnu. In a way, it also means that the parents are blessing the daughter with a husband who is as good as their God.

Mangalsutra Ceremony


The Mangalsutra is generally a gold chain with gold and black beads. The groom ties the Mangalsutra around the neck of the bride with three knots.

Kanya Daan Akshata


At the end of the Mangalsutra ceremony, the couple put garlands around each other's necks. All those assembled, shower flower petals and rice as a blessing. This is called Akshata, the offering of uncooked, turmeric-coloured rice.

Saptapadi


Saptapadi is a ceremony that has the bride and the groom taking seven steps together around the fire. In each round they utter mantras which add to strengthen the marriage. As they take the pheras, the bride's saree and groom's dhoti ends are tied into a knot. This signifies the culmination of the marriage.

The Sapthapadi or seven steps is the most important rite in the Hindu wedding ceremony. Seven heaps made of rice grain symbolizing the seven holy hills. The bride and the groom then take seven steps together, stepping upon first mound of rice with the right foot as the priest recites a mantra. Following this, and they continue the same with all seven mounds.

The meaning of the seven steps is as follows:


1. May the first step lead to food that is both nourishing and pure.

2. May the second step lead to strength (at the physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual levels).

3. May the third step lead to prosperity.

4. May the fourth step lead to all round happiness.

5. May the fifth step lead to progeny (noble and virtuous children).

6. May the sixth step lead to long life.

7. May the seventh step lead to bondage (through harmony, understanding).

After these seven steps, the marriage is considered to have become legal by Hindu law codes. Then, they both say: "Now let us make a vow together. We shall share the same food, share the strengths, the same tastes. We shall be of one mind, we shall observe the vows together."

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