While the concept of Marriage in Hindus has more or less remained the same, wedding rituals have undergone massive changes over the millennia. Brides don’t just wear red anymore, Grooms have replaced horses with cars, and Bride and Grooms now believe in splitting the cost of marriage. This gives us hope that Indians aren’t as stiff about their traditional rules as some would have us believe.
But if that is the case, why oh why do we continue to go on performing these inane misogynistic, patriarchical rituals that make us believe that we’re back in the middle ages? The Bride made to touch the feet of the Grooms, for example.
According to our research, Indian weddings are only happy and gay on the outside, but on the inside a wedding is pretty much a live version of that film ‘Lajja’
Here are 5 Hindu wedding traditions that should either be hacked off, or at least improved upon.
Kanyadaan is a beautiful but unfortunately sexist tradition. For those who don’t know, in this ritual, the Father of the Bride takes his daughter’s right hand and places it in the Grooms’s right hand, which is a symbol of both Father requesting Grooms to accept his daughter as partner and his official approval to give his daughter to the Grooms.
You cannot just give a woman away, like a responsibility or property. She is a living, breathing person, who is also accepting the responsibility of her new husband. Secondly, this isn’t the middle ages anymore. A woman shouldn’t have to need her father’s approval to be married to a guy. Thirdly, and most important, a girl, or a boy for that matter, is not just raised by her father; her mother is equally, if not more so, responsible in raising her. Then why does Kanyadaan involve only the father performing the ceremony?
The only thing that should be done in place of Kanyadaan is the Bride and Grooms touch the feet of the parents asking for their blessing. If that can’t be done, at least what should be done is the Bride’s mother participating equally in the Kanyadaan.
The ring-fishing is a post wedding ritual in Hindu marriage, where the Bride and Grooms are made to drop their rings in a huge container containing mixture of milk and water, doused with rose petals and some other stuff. Then, both of them compete against each other in trying to find one ring by using one hand. It is believed that whoever finds a ring first will have the upper hand in their marriage.
We know that post wedding games in Hindu tradition are really fun for the psyched up relatives of the married. But symbolically these rituals should be done away with, or at least improved upon. This is because a married home should never be ruled or swayed by one person. Both the Bride and Grooms should have an equal say in matters in their marriage.
Same theory goes for the practice of hoisting the Grooms by his friends, seconds before the Bride places the garland (Varmala) on the Grooms’s neck. Apparently, the act of bowing before his Bride so that she can place the garland around his neck, is a symbol of giving her the rein of the relationship.
Come on, people! So what if he gives her the reign? What is so wrong with that? Are you marrying a slave? No, right? You are marrying a woman to make your life better and turn your house into a home…that can’t happen if you refuse to even bow slightly before your wife. And by the way, does the Bride ever show such shenanigans?
Shagun is an array of gifts given by both the wedding parties to each other. It’s basically shopping for the entire year, for EACH AND EVERY MEMBER of the opposite party. Think about the costs, right?
Well, it wouldn’t have been an issue in olden days, but in an age of shrinking savings, people should be creative and bold enough to give a Shagun that doesn’t bankrupt them, shouldn’t they?
Exchanging gifts among relatives is a beautiful thing, but it shouldn’t become a transaction. But unfortunately, the privileged male wedding party has become so used to being treated like royalty in weddings, that they have forgotten that receiving a lavish Shagun is a blessing, not birthright.
But that is human nature. We ask why did our ancestors, who had supposedly been the wisest men on Earth, not think of this basic fact about human nature.
In some regions, the Bride is supposed to touch the feet of the Grooms, like touching the feet of an elder. Although many people are letting go of this ancient ritual, in some places it is still practiced.
In what words can we even begin to explain how utterly wrong this is? Touching the feet of an elder is a beautiful thing; it’s a sign of paying respect. To an elder person. Only an elder person.
Not a younger person, or a person equal in age. Even if there is a person we highly respect, we don’t ever touch their feet. Ever. Then why should a Bride have to touch the Grooms’s feet, when she might not even know him properly, let alone respect him like an elder.
We say when the marriage traditions of India have undergone such a huge change over the millennium, why should these inane rituals stick around.
Let’s pledge to get over such sexist or stupid traditions once and for all.