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The Wedding

Glossary of Terms and Schedule of Events Below

Thank you for joining us on the auspicious occasion of the wedding of Sonali with Anil. The Wedding Ceremony, uniting Anil and Sonali as one, is being performed in accordance with the practices specified in the ancient Vedic texts that form the basis of Hinduism. The Ceremony is being presided over by a Maharaj (Hindu Priest). The Ceremony is being performed in Sanskrit, the ancient language of India and Hinduism. Anil and Sonali will recite their vows in English and Sanskrit. Most of the Ceremony will take place under the Mandap (altar).

Each part of the ceremony is a deeply meaningful and symbolic combination of rituals and traditions underscoring various spiritual concepts that will guide Anil and Sonali in their life together. They will affirm before God, family, and friends, their commitment to one another and their understanding of the husband’s duties towards his wife and the wife’s duties towards her husband.

VAR AAGAMAN (Welcoming the Groom):
The Ceremony begins with the Groom, Anil, arriving on horseback to the wedding location. He is preceded by his family and friends (Barat), who announce his presence with dancing and music. The Bride’s Parents, Chandrashekhar and Sangeeta Somalwar, and other family members and friends greet and bless Anil and the Barat. Following other festivities, Anil, his family and friends are escorted to the wedding location. Before entering the hall, Anil must remove his shoes. If not watched closely, these shoes may be stolen by Sonali’s female friends and relatives and will not be returned until a hefty ransom is paid.

GANESH POOJA (Blessings of the Lord Ganesh):
All auspicious occasions begin with prayer to Lord Ganesh. We ask Ganesh, the destroyer of all evils, to bless this ceremony.

KANYA AAGAMAN (Entrance of the Bride):
The Maharaj asks the Sonali’s parents, Chandrashekhar and Sangeeta, the Groom’s Parents, Ravjibhai and Hansaben, and Anil to stand and face the guests. Anil asserts his desire to marry Sonali and requests blessings from the guests. Similarly, both sets of parents ask the guests for their blessings. In the Hindu tradition, the Bride, Sonali, is escorted to the Mandap by her Maternal Uncle, Vasant Udhoji.

Upon reaching the Mandap, Sonali is separated from Anil by an antarpat (curtain), held up by family members symbolizing that the groom is seeing the bride for the first time before the wedding. The Maharaj recites prayers. Family, friends, and guests also get a chance to sing their own compositions of mangalashtaka, which are typical Sanskrit or Marathi verses invoking Gods, describing the ceremony, praising the bridal couple’s family members, giving advise to the bridal couple and finally giving blessing as also best wishes for the life together ahead. Each stanza ends with “Kuryat Sada Mangalam, Shubh Mangal Savdhan” and everyone showers akshada (rice) on the bridal couple. At the stroke of the muhurt, the priest chants last verses of the mangalashtaka loudly, removing the antarpat and among the traditional music of vajantri (consists of shehnai and choughada). When the curtain is removed, Anil and Sonali exchange garlands symbolizing the unification of their hearts.

KANYADAM (Giving Away the Bride):
Anil holds his hands over a copper pan held by the Maharaj. Sonali places her hands over his, and Chandrashekhar, holds his hands over hers. Sangeeta places water in Chandrashekhar’s hands, which trickles from his hand to Sonali’s and then to Anil’s. Chandrashekhar asks Anil to take care of Sonali. Anil places his hand on Sonali’s shoulder and takes an oath to be faithful to Sonali. Sonali places her hand on Anil’s shoulder and repeats the same oath.

HASTA MELAP (Joining the Hands):
The Maharaj tells Anil and Sonali to join hands. The couple takes a vow to perform their duties as a married couple in a righteous way.

MANGAL PHERAS (The Pledge for Married Life):
A knot is tied between shawls worn by Anil and Sonali. With the help of Anil and Sonali, the Maharaj starts a small fire. Anil and Sonali make offerings of ghee (clarified butter) to fuel the fire while taking oaths. Anil and Sonali then stand. They make offerings of puffed rice and walk around the fire four times. Each time the couple walks around the fire, they make a pledge for married life. The rounds represent the virtues they will try to uphold in their lives together: Dharma (mortality), Artha (prosperity), Kama (intimacy) and Moksha (altruism). The Bride’s Brother, Nitin, places more puffed rice in Sonali’s hand, which Anil and Sonali together place in the fire. Nitin twists Anil’s ear and tells him that he has taken a solemn oath, and he better stick to it. After the fourth round, there is a competition between the bride and the groom as to who will be seated first. The winner is said to be the one who rules the house.

SAPTAPADI (Seven Steps):

Seven piles of rice are placed on the Mandap. Anil takes Sonali’s hand and they take seven steps together, stepping on each pile of rice in turn. With each step, they make a solemn vow.
1. To support each other with trust, faith, and confidence
2. To take care of each other, in sickness and in health, and live peacefully with perfect harmony
3. To share each other’s wealth and earnings and work hand in hand towards prosperity
4. To cherish love, pleasure, and happiness towards each other
5. To become ideal parents for their children
6. To accompany each other for the joys of all the seasons
7. To strive for everlasting friendship
The couple is asked to stand facing each other and touch their foreheads (meaning putting their heads together for decision making henceforth).

Anil and Sonali take their seats under the Mandap. Anil gives Sonali a Mangal Sutra, a necklace made of black beads and gold, which is the traditional Hindu jewelry worn by a married woman. Anil then applies sindoor (red powder) to the bride’s forehead signifying her status as a married woman. Anil and Sonali also exchange wedding rings as a symbol of their love.

ASHIRVAD (Completion of the Wedding Ceremony):
The Maharaj leads family and friends in reciting a hymn, wishing the newly married couple good luck, prosperity, and a long life together. The ceremony ends with blessings from the Maharaj on Anil and Sonali. Anil and Sonali ask for additional blessings from their parents and other elders present.

This is an emotional farewell to Sonali by her family. In the Hindu tradition, after a woman is married, she leaves the care of her parents and brother to become part of the husband’s family.

Schedule of Events

Garba - January 31, 2004 - 7 PM
Sanatam Dharma Temple
15311 Pioneer Blvd.
Norwalk, CA 90650

Mehndi Ceremony - February 5, 2004 - 7 PM
Nitin Somalwar Residence
15 Hawkcreek
Irvine, CA 92618

Vidhi Ceremony - February 6, 2004 - 10 AM
Patel Residence
25623 Amberleaf Road
Torrance, CA 90505

Wedding and Reception - February 7, 2004
Los Angeles Airport Hilton
5711 West Century Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90045

         11:15 AM - Gather for Barat
         11:30 AM - Barat Starts
         12:00 PM - Reception of Barat
         12:30 PM - Wedding Ceremony
         06:00 PM - Cocktail Reception
         07:30 PM - Reception Dinner and Dance

Glossary of Terms

The following is a list of terms that you may run across in the invitation or during the course of the wedding that we thought we would define for you.

Garba - this event is a typical of the Gujarati culture and precedes Hindu weddings.  It is a night of live Hindi/Gujarati music, dancing, and food in honor of the Hindu Goddess, Amba Ma, who symbolizes power. 

Mehndi - an event where the bride and her female friends and family members get together to apply henna (mehndi) on their hands.  The application of  mendhi serves not only as makeup and decoration, but also as a gesture of wishing the bride good luck.

Vidhi - a religious ceremony at the brideâs house just prior to the wedding where the brideâs parents pray to the Gods to keep the evil spirits away from the wedding and to protect the bride and groom in their married lives together. 

Barat - the groom will arrive on horse to the wedding location led by a procession of his family and friends dancing to the sounds of a live dhol (Indian drum) player.  Please meet in the lobby by 11:15 am to participate in this festive event.

Reception of the Barat - the bride's parents, family, and friends welcome the groom as he arrives to the wedding location.

Hindu Ceremony - the wedding will be conducted in Sanskrit, but translated in English.  Please see the wedding section for details on the Hindu wedding.

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