All Hindu weddings are conducted in the presence of fire since Hindu weddings follow the basic Vedic rituals and tradition, which involves the fire-deity, Agni. The wedding ceremony and Sanskrit chants and mantras are conducted with Agni bearing witness. While the pre and post wedding ceremonies differ by region and sect, the saath phere, saptapadi or 7 steps around the sacred fire is common across all denominations – it is what “seals the deal” and no Hindu marriage would be considered complete or legal without that aspect. Have you ever been to a wedding where the guests don’t seem especially still or move in closer for a better look during this moment? Where the candid wedding photography will be incomplete without these pictures and will have the candid wedding photographers snapping away furiously, getting pictures of the saath phere from every angle? It really is “the” solemnizing ceremony of the entire marriage function.
Before the 7 rounds around the fire, the bride and groom are connected by her sari/dupatta and his kurta, which fabrics are tied together, and then then hold each other’s little (aka pinky) fingers. Then, as the priest officiating the ceremony chants the mantras, the couple make their seven rounds around the fire, throwing handfuls of puffed rice into the fire as they walk. This is considered the most important and sacred of the wedding rites, sealing the couple in the matrimonial bond forever.
- Isha – For prosperity.
- Urje -For physical, mental and spiritual strength.
- Rayasposha – to acquire wealth diligently and righteously, and to spend what is gained, wisely.
- Mayobhav – For happiness and harmony in relationships.
- Praja – For strong and beautiful children
- Ritu – For compatibility and togetherness as a couple.
- Sakha – For life long companionship and friendship, and being able to depend on one another.