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Jain weddings are simple and very traditional with a lot of rituals. They are not as elaborate as weddings in some other Indian communities but a Jain wedding is considered to be incomplete without a grand proclamation by the bride and groom and publicly accepting the institution of marriage.
Pre Wedding Rituals
Laghana Lekhan: This is a small puja which is conducted at the bride’s home. The priest fixes on an auspicious time for the wedding in the course of this puja which is known as wedding mahurat. This function is usually attended by close relatives and friends and at the end of the puja, a letter known as lagan patrika is sent to the groom’s home. This letter has details on the time fixed for the wedding.
Lagna Patrika Vachan: This ritual takes place at the groom’s home where, the letter sent from the bride’s home along with the time of the wedding is read out. Usually it is announced on an auspicious day or on the day of the engagement.
Sagai: This is the engagement ceremony and usually takes place at the groom’s house. On this day, the groom performs a Vinayakyantra puja and post this, the bride’s brother puts tikka on his forehead. He also gifts him a gold chain, a ring, clothes, coconut, sweets and money. There after, the groom seeks blessings from all the elders present.
Maha Mandap: This function is held at both the bride and groom’s home individually and usually takes place a day or two prior to the wedding. This ceremony is conducted by the priest where he performs all the religious rituals.
Bharti and Aarti: The bridegroom’s marriage procession is received by the bride’s family as a part of the Bharti ritual. The bride’s brother and the groom apply tikka to each other and exchange coconuts. The groom is also gifted money, sweets and clothes by the bride’s brother. Married ladies from the bride’s side welcome the groom by doing an aarti and singing traditional folk songs known as Mangala Geet.
Kanyavaran: This marks the official beginning of the wedding ceremonies. In this ceremony, the bride is given a one rupee and a twenty – five paise coin along with some rice in her right hand. The bride’s father officially hands over his daughter to the groom as a part of this ceremony while the priest chants the holy mantras.
Granthi Bandhan: In this ceremony, married women tie the end of the grooms shawl to the bride’s pallu and make a knot. This is highly sacred and prepares the couple for the next ritual which is the pheras.
Pheras: This is the most important ritual and is supposed to be carried out at a fixed time which is considered to be most auspicious by the priest. The couple circles the sacred fire four times. The bride walks ahead of the groom for the first round while the groom walks ahead of the bride for the rest of the rounds.
Mangal Geet: The older ladies sing traditional folk songs while the pheras take place. Post the pheras, the bride and the groom take seven vows. The bride is then seated on the left of the groom. This symbolizes that she is now a part of her husband’s life. This is followed by exchange of garlands and a havan which completes the marriage rituals.
Ashirvada Ceremony: This ceremony takes place at the end of the wedding where the elders from both families bless the couple and this ceremony marks the beginning of their new life together.
Sva Graha Aagamana: This is a ritual where the bride is welcomed by the groom’s family at her new home. The groom’s family members greet her with open heart.
Jina Grahe Dhan Arpana: Both the families donate alms to the Jain temple to express their gratitude for the successful completion of all the rituals without any problem.
Reception: This is a formal introduction of the bride to the extended family members and friends of the groom.