Indian marriages still remains the majorly preferred way for Indians to enter into matrimony. Mostly the parents and other relatives decide on a life partner which they feel is suitable for their child. So while searching for a suitable match for their children, they follow various rules. It’s a tradition Indians find hard to part with. In this 21st Century, around 85 percent Indians prefer marrying the boy or girl as chosen by their families, rather than choosing their life partners themselves as reveled in a survey conducted by the Taj Group of Hotels.
Historically, weddings during the Vedic times occurred by a variety of methods. While arranged marriages were preferred, the consent of the bride was generally taken into consideration. In case of royal families, parents arranged a Swayamvar, a ceremony where suitable matches from all over the country were invited. Then these suitors had to prove themselves to win over the girl, or the girl herself will choose one of them, by offering him a flower garland. Even love marriages were quite common. The couple in love will elope and undergo what is known as ‘Gandharva’ type of marriage.
As position of women in the society degraded, the concept of marriage and her role in it also changed. Arranged marriages became the accepted way of marriage in India especially among the Hindus.
Process of Indian Marriage-
Marriages in India are long drawn out processes, where finalizing the perfect match may take months and even years. The suitability of a match is depends on several factors. While some are common for the boy’s and girl’s sides, certain others are crafted to suit either side. Some of these criteria are:
Caste: Caste is another important criterion in the list. While seeking a match, the parents prefer to choose a candidate belonging to same or compatible caste and sub-caste. This is usually done in order to preserve the ethnicity of the caste and to seek a match with people having similar customs as one. In the Indian marriage, the boy and the girl planning to have an arranged marriage needs to belong to the same religion. Hindus will marry Hindus, while Muslims will look for a match within the Muslim community and Christian families will prefer their children getting married to a Christian so that the culture and heritage of their religion as customs and rituals are preserved greatly.
Horoscope: Horoscope matching is an essential part of the Indian marriage process. Horoscope means the birth chart or natal chart of an individual, based upon the positions of astrological luminaries like the Sun, the Moon, the Planets and other stars at the time of the individual’s marriage. It generally holds important life predictions as well as describes the individual’s character based on the positions of astrological bodies in specific positions. In India, it is believed that the horoscope holds the key to every important events of an individual’s life and Vedic Astrology is followed as the preferred method. The horoscope matching according to Vedic Astrology is based on nakshatras ( Lunar constellation). This assesses the compatibility of the two people in focus based on thirty six points (guna). To be a good match at least eighteen out of thirty six gunas need to be matching. Other astrological conditions also needs to be determines such as Mangalik Dosha which occurs when the planet mars is positioned in 1st, 4th, 8th and 12th house of the birth chart. The priest, who is matching the kundalis or birth charts, then prescribes some remedies to counteract the negative effects.
Culture: The cultural background of the two families is important while fixing a match. Orthodox families do not prefer to initiate alliances with families who seem open-minded and vice versa. Educational background of the families is also seen to impact a marriage match. Their moral backgrounds are also analyzed while considering a match.
Physical Appearance: This is the prime requirement of suitability for a girl when being considered for marriage. The color of skin in some parts of India still plays one of the most important deciding factors when it comes to Indian marriage and fair-skinned girls are usually preferred over the dark-skinned girls. Height, weight and other physical aspects are also taken into consideration. While the physical appearance of the boy is important to some extent, not much stress is placed on the concept as long as he is not suffering from any serious problem. Apart from physical appearance, the girl is also judged based upon her efficiency in domestic chores such as cleaning, cooking and stitching.
Engagement : This happens only when both the parties agree that this is the best match possible for their child from all aspects. Depending on the customs of the two families, a priest is also consulted for this purpose, and depending on the groom’s and bride’s horoscope a marriage date is set. The two families exchange gifts and sweets.
Indian Marriages are unique and so when the foreigners visit India, they are keen to attend all kinds of Indian marriages which they enjoy it truly.