A quintessential Indian wedding is mainly three things - tradition, rituals and a lot of fun and masti. And talking about traditions, nothing can describe a Hindu wedding better than the beautiful ritual called the Saat Phere or the seven sacred vows. Only after the bride and the groom have completed the Saat Phere are they considered husband and wife. In South Indian weddings they are known as Saptapadi and while the significance remains the same, the meaning of each Phera is slightly different in Saptapadi. In Sikh weddings, there are only four Pheras, and they are known as Laavan. Well, more on that some other time, but for now let's move our focus back to the seven vows or Saat Phere of a Hindu wedding.
The Significance of the Saat Phere
These Saat Phere or seven vows are not just 'rounds around a holy fire'. Each Phera signifies a vow that the bride and groom make to each other. Their significance is deeply rooted in our rich Indian culture and the meanings are beautiful.
Even though the Saat Phere are very significant for a Hindu wedding; just like with almost everything else in a wedding ceremony, from outfits to decor, millennial couples have now started mixing a hint of modernity with tradition. Therefore, even when it comes to the seven sacred vows, they have their own vows that they make to each other. They believe that they need to move away from the age-old traditional vows, which according to them can be very archaic and unachievable. That is the reason why most couples these days want to come up with their own realistic wedding vows, promises that they make to each other and keep, always.
But before we go on to tell you what the Saat Phere actually signify for most millennial couples, let us first tell you the traditional meanings of every vow of the Saat Phere. These vows have been holding people together in a bond of love and respect since ages and they will never lose their meaning and significance. Here you go:
1. The first vow is a prayer to the Lord for provision and nourishment
In the first vow of the Saat Phere, the groom and bride seek the divine blessings of God by asking him to bestow upon them enough for a healthy and prosperous living. They pray that they never fall short of food or money. The groom vows to always provide for his wife and family, and the bride promises to share the load and responsibilities with him equally. Together they vow to work towards this goal together and with respect for each other.
2. The second vow stands for strength and togetherness in all situations
In this circle, the couple prays to God to bless them with mental, physical and spiritual well being. The groom promises to stand by his wife in all situations, be it sickness or health. The bride promises to be his strength and also asks for his undivided love and attention in return.
3. The third vow is for prosperity
In this Phera, the couples ask the Almighty to bless them with everything that they need to live a comfortable and prosperous life. The couple also promises their loyalty to each other with this Phera.
4. The fourth vow is for families
The groom thanks his bride for coming into his life and completing it while the bride promises to please him in every way possible. They also pledge to always respect each other's families.
5. The fifth vow is for progeny
This is the Phera in which the groom takes the lead. In this vow, the couple prays to the Almighty for healthy and noble children. They also promise to be good parents who will bestow their kids with a noble upbringing.
6. The sixth vow is for health
In this Phera the couple promises the God that they will live an honest and noble life. They also pray for a healthy and disease-free life. They pray for the strength so that they can fulfil their responsibilities towards each other and their families.
7. The seventh vow is for love and friendship
In the last of the Saat Phere, the couple pledges their love, trust and companionship to each other, forever. They vow to be friends for life and stand by each other through thick and thin. They pray for a relationship enriched with lots of love.
Image Courtesy: Dream Diaries
So, these were the actual and traditional meanings of the seven sacred vows or Saat Phere of a Hindu wedding. The vows and the way they are performed are different for different cultures and religions, but the significance remains the same. While the core meanings of these Pheras have remained unchanged over the years, new-age couples are experimenting with a lot of ideas to make their wedding fun, and that includes making the 7 vows quirky and fun as well.
Not only are brides and grooms writing their own wedding vows these days, but they are also adding slight modifications to the existing ones. Grooms in this day and age do not expect their wives to 'serve' them or 'please' them in any way. The brides similarly do not want a 'protector' and 'provider'. Couples want companions, someone they can share their life with.
They are looking for someone who will be their partner in everything, be it house chores or looking after kids and families. The wife's role is no more limited to the house while the husband goes out and earns. And millennials are making sure that all of these promises that they make to each other during courtship or dating period, are also highlighted and respectfully vowed to in front of their loved ones when they get married.
Some quirky wedding vows for all you millennial couples out there
If you are looking to write your own wedding vows or adding a certain element of 'you' to the traditional Pheras, then you could take a cue from the ones we're going to list below:
1. I will never ever watch a new sitcom without you.
And even if I'm not able to control my excitement, I promise to never give you any spoilers. And hey, I'll watch it with you again. Companions for life, remember?
2. I will always be up for ordering your favourite food
And we will order my favourite food too and make it a party for two! In fact, let's make this a tradition, shall we?
3. I will not ask you to always sleep with your arms around me
I know it's damn uncomfortable at times because there are days when you just want to curl up on your side of the bed and drift off to sleep. I understand, completely!
4. I will always, ALWAYS listen to you
Even if you just want to vent out about a crappy day at work or a mean thing someone did on your way home, or even gossip about our neighbour, I will listen patiently.
5. I'm not saying I will remember all our important days for sure, but I will always try to make them special
Sooner or later. And I will not get angry if you forget my birthday or our anniversary as long as we can make up for it later. Cool? Cool.
We've also got some great Shaadi quotes which will make for some awesome personalised wedding vow. We hope you take some inspiration from these and come up with something amazing for your big day. All the best!
Did you make any interesting vows to your better half during your wedding ceremony? We would love to know about those too!