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Hindu marriages in Canada combine both Indian and western traditions
During my recent visit to Toronto in Canada, I attended a Hindu marriage performed through Indian traditions of welcome of barat (bride groom's procession) and groom's aarati (ritual prayer) followed by the groom being led to the mandap in the presence of priest who presides over the ceremony.

However, the reception was in western style in which the male and female friends of both bride and the groom took over the stage. This had the speeches, cutting of cake, fun games, drinks and western dances.

The marriage of the groom, Shaan Dubey, was solemnized by a retired professor of the local university who is doing this job since there is dearth of Pandits to do the job. He recited Sanskrit verses along with English translation for everyone to understand what they mean. More so, for the bride and the groom since they contain marriage vows.

For all the occasions and rituals, there were verses and their translation. Also, a brochure containing the explanation of all the rituals was distrusted by the solemniser of the marriage. The brochure had information about swagat (welcome of the groom and his family and friends); kanya aagaman and jaimala (arrival of the bride and exchange of garlands); madhu-parka (vow of sweetness); kanya-pratggrahana-vidhi (acceptance of the bride by the groom); pratigya (eight sacred vows); shilarohan vidhi ( ceremony of the rock) and laazaa homa or chunni ceremony. Often these rituals are performed on a stage witnessed by the families and friends of the couple.

In the mandap, the ceremonies are done in the presence of sacred fire which is lit while reciting Sanskrit verses. The ceremonies of gathbandhan (nuptial knot); sapatadi (seven steps) with pledges; jalasinchana vadhu satkar (sprinkling of sacred water over bride) by groom's father; sindhoor ceremony (putting of red vermillion powder in the hair parting of the bride by the groom); exchange of rings and blessings by the priests and parents of the couple. Also, other family members and friends collectively bless the couple amidst recitation of mantras and showering flower petals on the couple.

Thereafter, the bride and the groom's friends take over the scene both for festivities and the feast in the western style with a master of ceremonies. The feast and the party goes on till late hours. Next day, the couple proceeded for their honeymoon.

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