Founded by Swami Dayanand Saraswati, Arya Samaj is known for observing simplistic rituals and traditions. The beauty of a simple Arya Samaj Marriage lies in the Vedic principles and hymns spelt during the ceremony. It is very similar to any other Hindu marriage that is set around a holy fire with a priest present to commemorate the ceremony. However, unlike other forms of Hindu Weddings the Arya Samaj ceremonies of the wedding have simple marriage procedures and a high spiritual quotient with a very minimal show. Even if you want to get an Arya Samaj marriage certificate, the process is simple and convenient too. The ceremonies are short and do not involve any extravagance.
People who belong to the Arya Samaj do not worship any idols and the mantras that are chanted at the wedding are explained to the bride and groom in detail and in understandable dialects. This is done so that the couple relates to the meaning and thus the significance of these mantras to apply in their married life to overcome any hurdles whatsoever and also to understand the significance of the marriage in the most holistic ways through the chants.
In this article, we present to you a detailed tour of all the steps of a typical Arya Samaj wedding which include the pre and post-wedding rituals. To understand the beautiful and serene wedding traditions of an Arya Samaj marriage and avail of the Arya Samaj marriage certificate, here is a detailed walkthrough of an Arya Samaj wedding. Read to know more.
The Arya Samaj marriages do not have any pre-wedding functions as such. However, the millennials these days have started celebrating pre-wedding ceremonies that happen in a Hindu wedding like - Sangeet, Haldi, Mehndi ceremony and so on. This sure adds to the fun and joys of this already exciting occasion. Apart from that, there are only a few ceremonies that happen before the wedding.
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In an Arya Samaj marriage, this ceremony takes place on the morning of the wedding and it is a formal occasion where the Brahmins are feasted in both the bride’s and the groom’s home and this ritual is considered very auspicious marking the beginning of the wedding celebrations.
Chuda & Nath
This is a regional ritual that is most often seen among North Indian Arya Samaj wedding followers. The bride's maternal uncle gifts her a set of twenty-one bangles (the bridal Chura) and a nose ring or the bridal Nath. The number - twenty-one, is an auspicious number.
Wedding Rituals in an Arya Samaj Ceremony
In this type of wedding ceremony, there is an emphasis on the ritual chanting of Vedic hymns and the worship of older Gods like fire (Agni) and sun (Surya) over latter gods like Shiva, Vishnu or Krishna who were derived in the later verses of the same holy book of immense importance to the Hindus. Arya Samaj weddings are known for their simplicity and grace and are conducted by a priest at the Arya Samaj temple. The rituals of an Arya Samaji wedding/ Arya Samaj marriage are also open to members of any other religious order. We have put together a list of rituals that take place in the Arya Samaj marriage process for you to do it right.
Varmala & Swagat Vidhi
In an Arya Samaj marriage, the wedding ceremony commences with the bride and groom chanting holy Vedic verses and that is followed by the garland exchange ritual where the bride puts the garland around the groom first. This symbolises the public acceptance of their new relationship. The Swagat Vidhi is the first step of the bride welcoming the groom to the wedding ceremony in an Arya Samaj marriage. The groom has to come to the Arya Samaj marriage temple to get the ceremonies started as per the Arya Samaj marriage process.
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Madhuparka literally is a mixture of honey, curd and cream. The bride gives the groom water to sprinkle on his feet 3 times - over his feet and body and then drinks it the third time. Then the groom repeats the same ritual for the bride and then eats the pious mixture of Madhuparka after he has offered it to the almighty. This ritual in an Arya Samaj marriage is a beautiful gesture of love seen between the bride and groom.
Yagna & Kanyadaan
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The groom in an Arya Samaj marriage is supposed to wear a sacred thread tied by the priest around his wrist. This is symbolic of the transformation of the boy to man, to a responsible householder. During an Arya Samaj Marriage, the holy fire is worshipped and many Vedic hymns like the Gayatri mantra are recited. It marks the transition of a couple from Brahmacharya to Grihastha Ashram.
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Then Kanyadaan is the ritual of the father of the bride placing his daughter’s hand in the hands of the groom. This ritual symbolises that the father henceforth hands the responsibilities of his daughter to her husband. This tradition, in an Arya Samaj marriage, is very similar to the Kanyadaan ceremony in many other cultures in India.
Havan & Godan
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As non-believers of idol worship, in an Arya Samaj Marriage fire plays a very significant role. The sacred fire burning in the middle of the mandap serves as a holy witness. The pujari or gurukul brings along the elements that are needed for performing the wedding rites. This ceremony is often followed by the Godan ceremony which involves the gift of a cow or calf to the priests as alms. Nowadays, the equivalent amount of money is gifted rather than a live cow.
Pani Grahan Sanskar
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The couple performs this ritual together by holding hands and chanting mantras with the promise to love and care for each other and their needs, throughout their lives. After this, the bride and the groom together, take one ‘parikrama’ around the holy fire.
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In this Arya Samaj Wedding ritual, the bride's mother places the bride's right foot on a stone while the groom chants mantras given by the pandit. The symbolism of this ritual specifies a strong and solid relationship between the bride and the groom, just like the rock. This ritual also represents a prayer made by the couple to strengthen their relationship so that together they can face life’s challenges and temptations.
The ritual that follows Shilarohan is Lajahom. This ritual consists of offering Murmura or puffed rice into the Agni. Here, the bride and groom place their hand in hands and the brother of the bride pours puffed rice into them which is then offered into the holy fire.
Phere or Parikrama
After performing all the above rituals the bride and groom take 4 rounds around the Agni or sacred fire. The end of the bride’s sari and grooms ‘angavastra’ is tied in three knots by the groom’s sister and the pheras are completed. Each phera signifies a promise - the bride prays for the long life and health of the groom while the latter vows to protect and care for her under all circumstances.
This tender ritual is where the groom open’s the bride’s here and lets it flow freely. Further mantras are recited and the vows taken during Parikrama are reiterated.
Saptapadi & Hriday Sparsh Mantra
After the parikrama ceremony is done, the couple takes seven steps or ‘Saptapadi’ followed by one circle around the fire. The couple walks side by side and hand in hand.
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Right after the Saptapadi is done, the bride and the groom put their hands on each other’s hearts and make a promise of love and loyalty to each other.
Sindoor & Mangalsutra
Arya Samaj weddings have this ceremony similar to all other Hindu wedding ceremonies where the groom puts vermillion on the bride’s forehead. This is the official ceremony that declares the couple man and wife. At the end of this ceremony, the wedding is considered valid for all intents and purposes. The final ritual is for the groom to apply sindoor on the rides forehead and also tie a Mangalsutra around her neck. The couple feed sweets to each other because no happy occasion is complete without sweets!
Surya Darshan or the Sun greeting ceremony follows next when the bride and groom worship the all-powerful sun together to bless them with a long life of health and prosperity.
Keeping the minimalist approach and integrity alive, the post-wedding rituals of an Arya Samaj wedding are also mesmerising.
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Married women from the bride’s family come forth to wish her eternal happiness.
Ashirvaad is the Sanskrit word for blessings. As such, after the marriage ceremony proper is over, the bride and the groom seek the blessings of all the elders and family members assembled therein. Everyone then showers their blessings on the happily wed couple to live a life of love, happiness, and prosperity, ever after.
The pole star or Dhruv is forever the one constant in the universe. To symbolise the constancy of their bond the newlywed Arya Samaj couple are supposed to view the pole star together to be inspired and be blessed by the paragon of constancy and loyalty.
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This is the common post-wedding ceremony similar to all other receptions in the world of weddings. In this ceremony, all invited guests come together for a grand feast. It is often accompanied by music and dancing in millennial times. These ceremonies take place in the Arya Samaj Temples or even in a designated Arya Samaj marriage place.
With the completion of the reception the traditional Arya Samaj wedding draws to a close. There are ways to get your hands on the Arya Samaj marriage certificate post the wedding is complete. Here we have presented all the steps that are followed by a majority of Arya Samaj followers. However, all steps may not be conducted or there may be regional variations or differences in particular cases. Be they as they may, Arya Samaj weddings are spectacular affairs where tradition meets modernity and the past interacts with the present.
If you are someone who wants to get married in an Arya Samaji wedding ritual or if you want some help with the Arya Samaj marriage certificate, share and comment below!
With inputs from Sanyukta Dabas.