A Guide To Hindu Weddings in Malaysia

Indian weddings in Malaysia are conducted according to Hindu traditions. The colourful festive-like traditional ceremony addresses the social, religious and legal aspects of marriage. It is basically divided into pre-wedding, actual wedding day and post wedding rituals. Rich in unique rituals, Hindu weddings are filled with religious and cultural practices that are carried out with joy and enchantments, in accordance to family preference. In fact, in a multiculturalism setting such as Malaysia, weddings celebrated here differs from their native counterparts due to the addition of domestic rituals and culture. We have compiled a summary of the Hindu weddings as part of a series to cherish each other's culture as multicultural as Malaysia!


Photo by Andrew Koe Photography

Engagement

This ceremony is typically done a few months before as a formal announcement of the marriage. In this 45-minute ritual, the groom’s father asks the bride’s father for her hand in marriage, the marriage will be decided to be on the rightMuhurtam (auspicious day), and Puja(prayers) will be conducted. The couple then exchanges wedding bands and the ceremony ends with blessings and wishes from families and friends. The bride's family will also host a small feast. In this ceremony, the bride will be presented with items from the groom, such as jewellery, saree, mehendi and bangles.


Engagement ceremony: Photo by Emotions in Pictures


Photo by BestianKelly Photography


Exchange of wedding bands during the Engagement: Photo by BestianKelly Photography

Graha Shanti, Mehendi and Bangles Ceremony

Graha Shanti marks the beginning of the marriage ceremony and is typically conducted one day before the formal marriage ceremony. It includes a series of prayers such as theGanesha Puja (prayers to the Elephant god to ensure that the wedding ceremonies will be smooth), Kalash Puja (symbol of the universe), Navagraha Puja (to reduce the negative influences in the lives of the newly weds), Mandap Devata Pujua (to ensure that all rituals at the “Manavarai or Mandap” - the stage where the wedding ceremony will take place successfully) and Gouri Har Puja(for the bride only, to pray for a good marriage).


Ganesha: Photo by BestianKelly Photography

In this ceremony, the bride is dressed up and donned withhaldi(herbal product) to beautify her. She is also presented with colourful jewelleries and bangles by the groom’s family. Henna is passed over by the groom’s entourage to the bride’s where she is to set the henna and regard the intensity of the henna’s colour. According to Hindu beliefs, the darker colour of henna symbolizes a deeper love for the couple in the future. The Bangles ceremony is done with prayers by the priest at an auspicious time. The bangles are blessed by everyone present at the event as their wishes.


Photo by Vanilla Clouds


Photo by Jooi Wah Photography


Photo by Wedding Photo Malaysia


Photo by Nworks Photography

Wedding Day

The groom will be accompanied by a male counterpart from the bride's family, normally her brother for the first part of the wedding ceremony. Next, the bride is escorted by the groom’s entourage to the wedding venue where the groom awaits her arrival. In a marriage ceremony, the bride and groom represent the Goddess Parvathi and the Lord Shiva, so they sit on a stage, elevated above the guests, called theManavarai. The priest then recites traditional and religious quotes for the wedding.


The groom arrives: Photo by Dhivager Rathakrishnan Photography


The bride arrives: Photo by Dhivager Rathakrishnan Photography

Photo by Ashevin K Photography

Kannyadan

The ritual sees the bride's father places the hand of his daughter in the groom's hand and the bride's mother indicates her consent by pouring water into the hands of her husband, who also holds a gold sovereign symbolising his daughter. The groom accepts the sovereign and then gives it to his parents, symbolising the acceptance of the bride by the groom and his family.


Photo by WeFreeze Photography


Photo by Emotion in Pictures

Tying the "Thali"

Prepared by the groom’s family, Thali is a gold necklace that symbolises eternal love in the presence of God. The priest consecrates the Thali and gives it to the groom, who ties it around the bride's neck and they become man and wife. This ritual is the highlight of the wedding where it is done amidst a crescendo of music, chants and a shower of flowers from the congregation.


Thali: Photo by BestianKelly Photography


Photo by Ashevin K Photography


Photo by FIFOTO Photography


Photo by BestianKelly Photography

Worshipping the Sacred Fire

Vivaha Homa is a ritual in which the symbolic fire is lit. The holy fire symbolizes light, knowledge, power and acts as a witness to the  ceremony. This is proceeded with the "holding the hand" ritual or the Panigrahana. The ritual is a symbol of their union, and for the groom to state his acceptance of responsibility to Hindu deities.


Photo by BestianKelly Photography


Photo by Jooi Wah Photography


Photo by Watch the Fun Creation's


Photo by Dhivager Rathakrishnan Photography

Sapta Padi - Circling the Sacred Fire

Known asSapta Padi, the ritual requires the newlywed to take seven steps around a ceremonial fire while denoting the following marital vows:

First:To love one another and be faithful to each other

Second:To embrace each other's families as our own

Third:To share our joys and sorrows

Fourth:To care for children

Fifth:To cherish each other and continuously strengthen our love

Sixth:To support each other's goals

Seventh:To remain lifelong friends

Photo by Ashevin K Photography

The bride and groom, now officially man and wife proceeds to play a little game.


Photo by FIFOTO Photography


Photo by WeFreeze Photography

Ashirvad  – Blessings 

After the ceremony is completed, families and guests will offer blessings to the couple. After being  declared as Husband and Wife, the couple bows to family and guests and leave the mandap as a newly wedded couple. 


Photo by Magicalshots Photography

Post Wedding Rituals

There are several other rituals that the newly wedded couples must perform at the bride’s home before she leaves her family, as well as the groom’s home to welcome her into the family. The final step involves a series of prayers offered to deities and ancestors of the groom’s family, that ends with the groom’s mother unveiling the bride in front of the groom and they both pay respect to his parents.

 

Photo by Vanilla Clouds

Now that you are familiar with the major rituals in a Hindu wedding, read more onthe tips on photographing a Hindu wedding to anticipate the preparations that you need to make!

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