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Jain Wedding

INTRODUCTION
Jainism advocates the peaceful co-existence and interaction of two different living organisms in mutual beneficence or mutual dependence. Life is regarded as a gift to be shared together, helping each other to exist and grow. Jains have this wonderful prayer in their hearts always for forgiveness for all living beings also seeking and receiving the forgiveness of all beings. Also prayer craving for the friendship of all beings. Jains regard marriage as more or less a worldly affair. Marriage and family raising are recommended to all the Jain Shravakas. Because children born of the wed-lock would follow the Jain dharma only.

MARRIGE THROUGH THE AGES
The Jain marriage custom is governed by the traditional practices which of course vary from community to community. Some rituals are of course common to all Jain marriage. For the Jains, marriage means a public declaration of a man and a woman's intention to be together for the entire life. The community gives support to the couple by being a part of it. The Jain community assemblies on various occasions have condemned the practice of negotiating a dowry before marriage. Jains believe that there should be no waste of money or time. Nevertheless, marriage is an once-in-lifetime occasion that has to be celebrated properly and grandly. Jain marriages are mostly conducted by the Jain pundits only.

MATCH MAKING
Jains believe in marrying within the community only. They feel that the children thus born would also become Jains only. They mostly find partners for their eligible boy or girl by word of mouth. They intimate their willingness to get their children married to the other known people in their community. Modern day advertising through newspapers and engaging marriage bureaus are also in vogue these days.

COSTUMES
Bridal Wear
The Jain brides wear sarees only. The preferred color is red or any other bright color.

Groom's Attire
The Jain grooms wear the traditional Kurta Pyajama or the Dhoti Kurta.

RITUALS
Rituals Before Marriage
Laghana Lekhan
In Laghana Lekhan, the marriage is fixed. On this occasion, pooja is held at the girl's house and relatives are invited. The lagna, also known as the mahurat is determined by the priest. At the end of the rituals, the lagna patrika or a letter telling you about the time of marriage, is sent to the boy's house. It is also customary to send ¾ kg of sweets, especially laddoos at the time of engagement or sagai. The sweets could also be sent in an auspicious time. Lagna Patrika Vachan
The Lagna Patrika Vachan is read out in the boy's house. This is done either on the engagement day or any other auspicious moment. After this the priest reads the letter after the groom has performed the Vinayakyantra Pooja.

Sagai
Engagement or sagai ceremony is held at the groom's house. The groom would wear the traditional Jain headgear, wash his hands and do the Vinayakyantra. After the Vinayakyantra pooja, the bride's brother applies tilak on the groom's forehead and gifts him a gold chain, a ring, clothes, coconut, sweets and money. The groom is then presented the lagna patrika. The priest reads out the patrika and the groom seeks the blessings of the elders.

Mada-mandap
After Sagai, the next most important ceremony is Mada-mandap, which is held a day or two before marriage.

This ceremony is celebrated both at the groom's as well as the bride's places. The hour for the occasion is a pre-determined auspicious hour. The priest would perform all the rituals.

Barati
The barati is a ritual that takes place at the girl's place. It is upon arrival of the barat or the groom's procession that the bride's brother receives the groom and applies tika on his forehead. He is also presented with coconut, money, sweet and clothes. In return, the groom also apply tika on the forehead of the bride's brother and presents him a coconut.

Aarti
After receiving the groom with all honour, it's time when the married women do an aarti of the groom They also sing the Mangala Geet.

Marriage Rituals
Phere
Phere is perhaps the most important ceremony in Indian marriages. For the Phere also an auspicious time is being decided. For this the groom and the bride would be taken to the mandap and made them seated. The girl sits to the right of the groom, the groom and the bride changing position after taking the seven vows.

Kanyavaran
Also known as the kanyapradan ceremony, it has the parents or the uncle of the bride keeping one rupee and twenty-five paise and rice on the right hand of the bride. And then the presentation of the bride to the groom takes place. The father would publicly proclaim this formal presentation of the bride in front all the assembled guests. The groom thus receives the bride. This occasion is marked with the priest pouring water on the hands of the bride and groom chanting the mantra three times.

Havan
The havan starts after the Phere. During the havan, a series of mantras are chanted those of the Peethika, Atha Gathu, Atha Nistarak, Atha Surendra, Atha Parmarajadi and Atha Paramesthi are recited and offerings are made. At the end of these mantras, the Shanti mantra is chanted nine times.

Granthi Bandhan
Granthi Bandhan takes place after the havan. In this a married woman takes the corner of the pallu of the bride's sari and then ties it to the shawl of the groom. A mantra is also recited in this occasion. Following which the couple takes four rounds of the fire. In this the bride leads while taking the first round. Then they exchange positions and take another three parikramas around the havankund. There takes place the recitation of Mahaveerakshak stoot in the background. The women also start singing the mangal geet at this time. A muhurta (auspicious moment) has been already decided previously.

After the phere, the groom and the bride exchange the seven vows separately. When both of them have accepted the seven vows, the priest makes the bride sit on to the left of the groom. After this the bride will be called vamangi, which means she is the left half of the body. This follows with the couple exchanging garlands. Ultimately, the havan ends with the Shantipath and Visarjan.

Rituals After Marriage
Once the marriage is over, parents and relatives bless the couple. Alongwith the priest also blesses the newly weds and chants a mantra. As in all marriages, a wedding feast for the assembled guests follow this. Now the remaining ritual is left and that of sending the bride to the groom's house. The Jains believe in giving away alms in Jain temples as a thanksgiving to the god.

CELEBRATIONS
Music & Dance
When the women receive the groom at the reception, they do the Aarti and also sing the Mangala Geet.

Cuisine
Jains are strictly vegetarians. The usual wedding menu consists of the specialities of the localities. The Gujaratis would arrange traditional vegetarian dishes and other may go for the Marwari vegetarian fare. Still others may go for the vegetarian Punjabi dishes.

Some Strange Customs
Ghudhchadi is a ritual that takes place before on the marriage day before the barat or the groom's procession leaves for the bride's place. The Ghudhchadi ritual has the groom given his headgear and his mother and all the relatives apply tika on his forehead. After this the groom rides the horse and then he goes visiting a temple.

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