A Hindu wedding ceremony

A Hindu wedding ceremony

~ with Sunshine Coast wedding celebrant – Kari.

You are thought and I am sound. 
I am the words and you are the melody. 
I am the melody and you are the words.”
 

Congratulations Belinda & Biju, married in an Australian Hindu wedding ceremony on the Sunshine Coast Hinterland.  

Belinda and Biju came to me requesting an unusual wedding ceremony.  Biju comes from India and wished to include several Hindu elements into the ceremony.  Belinda is Australian and wanted a wedding ceremony that reflected this land and the traditions of Australia. And so we wove a truly multicultural ceremony, an occasion to honour both cultures.

The Golden statue was centre of the setting; an altar to Ganesha.  Around the statue were placed several ceremonial objects; a candle, flowers and fruit in offering to Ganesh.  The theme colours were vibrant and alive; deep pink, bold red, fragrant yellow and burnt orange.  Gerberas in all these flame colours were placed around Ganesh.

And for the fun of colour and festive atmosphere, paper lanterns in deep orange and pink were hung in the branches of the centuries old fig tree; an ancient witness to the sacredness of the celebration.

Biju was very confident when he asked me, the celebrant, to sing the essential incantations in the Sanskrit language.  For who else would do it, he asked.  And so I did!  His trust helped me to learn the appropriate blessings, and the role they played in the ceremony.  And I sang for this lovely couple, to bless their married lives.

Photos by Darren Frankish of Kish Photography

In any culture marriage is a sacred and treasured union.  According to Hinduism, marriage between two persons is a sacred relationship that is not limited to this life alone.  It extends across seven or more lives, during which the couple help each other progress spiritually.  The adage that marriages are made in heaven is very much true in the case of Hinduism.  Two souls come together and marry because their karmas are intertwined and they have to resolve many things together upon earth in order to ensure their mutual salvation.

In an ancient Hindu text it is said that when the one man loves the one woman and the one woman loves the one man, the angels abandon heaven and go sit with the couple and sing for joy.  Just looking around the guests we could see the angels present.

In Hinduism every auspicious occasion begins with an invocation to Lord Ganesha. Blessings are sought for a ceremony that will be free from impediments and for a marriage free from all hardships and obstacles.  Ganesha’s grace is invoked for the health, happiness, prosperity, and peace of the bride and groom and their families. The offerings included flowers for beauty, coconut for fertility, rice for sustenance, and sweets to ensure a sweet life! 

The ceremony included many traditions and customs from a Hindu Wedding in India, involving the family, water and fire, and song and walking circles around Ganesha and the altar.

A special moment is when the bride and groom take seven steps; steps towards their lives together, a set of wedding vows,

On the first step;       Together we shall cherish each other in sickness and health, in happiness and sorrow

On the second step;       Together we shall be lifelong friends

On the third step;       Together we shall share each other’s ideals

On the fourth step;       Together we shall nurture each other’s strengths, talents, and aspirations

On the fifth step;       Together we shall make each other happy

On the sixth step;       Together we shall love, provide and care for our children and our families

On the seventh step;       Together we will look forward to the mysteries of the future with awe, open-mindedness, and inspiration

We have taken the seven steps.  You have become mine forever.  Yes, we have become partners.  I have become yours.  Hereafter, I cannot live without you.  Do not live without me.  Let us share the joys.  We are word and meaning, united.  You are thought and I am sound.  I am the words and you are the melody.  I am the melody and you are the words.

These vows are poignant and poetic.  They are not dissimilar to vows from an Australian ceremony. Walking around the altar added an extra poetry to the steps of marriage they undertook.  I congratulate Belinda and Biju on blending their two cultures seemlessly and with great love and patience.

As a marriage celebrant I am often requested to accommodate the unusual.  This is my specialty.  I have sung in sanskrit, read in Afrikaans, waxed poetic in French, and played my wooden flute or lap harp.  Just ask me, you never know what I will agree to!