Indian Wedding Ceremony Steps – Saptapadi – Everything You Need to Know
An Indian wedding ceremony is imbued with deep meaning, whereby the couple realizes the sanctity and social significance of their union.
In an Indian wedding ceremony, Saptapadi, also known as the Seven Steps or Seven Vows, holds immense significance. It is one of the most sacred and pivotal rituals that symbolize the union of the bride and groom as life partners. Saptapadi is an essential part of Hindu wedding traditions and is performed during the marriage ceremony around a sacred fire (Agni).
The word “Saptapadi” is derived from Sanskrit, where “Sapta” means “seven,” and “Padi” means “steps” or “footsteps.” During this ritual, the bride and groom take seven steps together, each step accompanied by a specific vow or promise they make to each other and to the divine witness, Lord Agni.
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In a Kanyadaan ceremony, the bride is given away to the groom, by her father. The Kanyadan ritual marks the official approval of the bride’s father to give away his daughter, to the groom.
It’s a tradition followed by Indian families where it is said that the Bride’s father should give away his most prized possession to the groom so that she receives good fortune and great prosperity in days to come. As a gesture of giving the bride away, the bride’s father places his daughter’s right hand on the right hand of the groom.
The bride’s mother then pours water on the bride’s father’s hands, which eventually falls into the hands of the bride and groom. As a gesture of purifying the couple for their new life together, the bride’s parents wash the feet of the couple using milk and water.
The Wedding priest preceding the wedding invokes the blessings of Lord Ganesha while chanting the Sanskrit mantras. The groom ties a necklace called mangal sutra around the bride’s neck, embellished with black and gold beads.
Then comes Saptapadi, where both the bride and groom move around the ceremonial fire seven times which signifies their commitment to each other.
In Sanskrit, Saptapadi means seven steps, and the couple takes seven steps while chanting the Hindu pledge of marriage:
- First step: We will support and provide for each other.
Provide for Each Other: The couple promises to provide for and support each other in all aspects of life, including physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.
- Second step: We will develop spiritual, mental, and physical strength
Value and Respect: They vow to respect and value each other’s individuality, views, and opinions, fostering mutual understanding and harmony.
- Third step: We both will share worldly possessions by righteous and proper means
Fidelity and Loyalty: The couple pledges to remain faithful and loyal to each other throughout their lives, standing by each other in times of joy and sorrow.
- Fourth step: We will acquire peace, happiness, and knowledge through mutual love, trust and respect.
Love and Compassion: They promise to love and care for one another with compassion, empathy, and unconditional affection.
- Fifth step: We will raise virtuous, heroic, and strong children together.
Family and Offspring: The couple vows to be responsible parents, to nurture their future children with love and moral values, and to provide them with a nurturing environment.
- Sixth step: We will together enjoy the fruits of every season
Shared Responsibilities: They commit to sharing responsibilities and working together as partners to build a prosperous and fulfilling life.
- Seventh step: We will forever cherish each other and remain friends.
Spiritual Growth: The final step symbolizes their shared journey towards spiritual growth, seeking divine blessings and enlightenment together.
Once the couple completes the Seven Steps, they are considered bound by the sacred vows, and their union is recognized as a lifelong commitment. Saptapadi is not just a ceremonial act but a deep-rooted tradition that signifies the essence of a strong, loving, and enduring marriage in Indian culture.
When the much-awaited wedding ceremony comes to an end, then comes the most emotional and heart-rending part of the entire Indian wedding rituals- The vidaai, a post-wedding ceremony where the bride and groom depart to the groom’s home.
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When the joy and merriment of the wedding come to an end, the post-wedding ceremony called reception takes place which will be hosted by the groom’s family as a response to the wedding ceremony hosted by the bride’s family. The newlyweds will look their best in reception attire, and receive all the guests. During the ceremony, the bride will be introduced to the groom’s family and friends. This marks the end of all wedding ceremonies.
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