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Beliefs and practices
A Hindu marriage joins two individuals for life, so that they can pursue dharma (duty), artha (possessions), kama (physical desires), and moksa (ultimate spiritual release) together. It also joins two families together. The colours are normally red and gold.
Arranging the marriage
Traditionally, Hindu parents look for a prospective match for their son/daughter from their own community also known as arranged marriage. Elders in the family and parents seek the prospective match through word of mouth within the community. The use of jathakam (astrological chart at the time of birth) of the son/daughter to match with the help of a priest is common, but not universal. Parents also take advice from the brahmin called 'panthulu' in Telugu who has details of many people looking to get married. Some communities, like the Brahmins in Mithila, use genealogical records ("Panjikas") maintained by the specialists.
Jathakam is drawn based on the placement of the stars and planets at the time of birth. The maximum points for any match can be 36 and the minimum points for matching is 18. Any match with points under 18 is not considered as an auspicious match for a harmonial relationship. If the astrological chart of the two individuals (male and female) achieve the required threshold in points then further talks are considered for prospective marriage. Also the man and woman are given chance to talk and understand each other in the duration anywhere from 15 minutes to one hour. Once there is an agreement then an auspicious time is chosen for the wedding to take place.
EIGHT TYPE MARRIAGES
According to HINDUISM there are eight different types of Hindu marriages. Among the eight types all didn't have religious sanction. The last four were not religiously defined and were condemned. These are: Brahma Marriage, Daiva Marriage, Arsha Marriage, Prajapatya Marriage, Gandharva Marriage, Asura Marriage, Rakshasa Marriage, Paishacha Marriage.BEST IS BRAHMA MARRIAGE-In Brahma marriage once the boy completes his Brahmacharya Ashram (religious student hood), he is eligible to get married. His parents then approaches the parents or guardian of a girl belonging to a good family and ask them for the hand of their daughter for their son. The father of the girl also carefully chooses the bridegroom who is well versed in Vedas and of a noble character. This is how a Brahma marriage was arranged. girl came with two garments and few ornaments only. According to Dharmashastras "Brahma Vivah" is the best marriage among all.``The son born of the Brahma marriage sanctifies 21 GENERATION.-(that of the Daiva marriage 14 generations that of Arsha marriage and Kayah marriage six each.')
Wedding ceremonies can be expensive, and costs are typically borne by the parents. It is not uncommon for middle-or upper-class weddings to have a guest list of over 500 people. A live instrumental band is played in some parts where as some marriages have bharat is (the bridegroom's family) dancing to music just before coming to the wedding venue. Vedic rituals are performed and the family and friends then bless the couple. Food is served to all the invitees with lots of delicacies. The wedding celebrations can take up to one week depending on the practice in that different part of India.
Types of Hindu marriage and rituals
Historically the so called vedic marriage was but one of the few different types of Hindu marriage customs. Love marriage was also seen in historical Hindu literature and has been variously described in many names: eg Gandharva vivaha etc. In certain poor vaishnav communities still there is a custom called kanthi-badal which is exchange of bead-garlands as a very simplified form of ritual in solitude in front of an idol of Krishna, considered a form of acceptable love marriage.
Elopement has also been described in old Hindu literature. Lord Krishna himself Eloped Rukmini on horse chariot. It is written that Rukmini's father was going to marry her to Shishupal, against her wishes. Rukimini sent a letter to Krishna informing of a place and time to pick her up.
Symbolic rituals worn by married Hindu women
The married Hindu women in different parts of India follow different customs. In some places, in especially eastern India, they put on vermilion on the hair parting, wear a pair of conch bangles (shankha), a pair of red bangles(pala) and an iron bangle on the left hand (loha) while their husband is alive. In Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, a married woman is required to wear a necklace with a distinctive pendant called a thali and silver toe-rings. Both are put on her by the husband during the wedding ceremony. The pendant on the thali is custom-made and its design is different from family to family. Apart from this, the married woman also wears a red vermilion (Sindoor) dot on her forehead called Kunkuma and (whenever possible) flowers in her hair and colored glass bangles. The married woman is encouraged to give up all of these when her husband dies (although some choose not to).
Many people believe that arranged marriage is the traditional form of marriage in India and that love marriage is a modern form that a few couples opt for, usually in urban areas. Love marriage differs from an "arranged marriage" in that the couple, rather than the parents, choose their own partner. However, there are various instances from ancient scriptures of Hinduism, of romantic love marriages that were accepted in ancient times. Somewhere in the course of time, arranged marriages became predominant and love marriages became unacceptable. Despite some love marriages, the vast majority of Indians continue to have arranged marriages.The families believe that what their god has said is important, he said "All shall not fight, all shall become one, by binding together with love and happiness".
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