Hindu marriage is not only the wedding between man and woman, but it also stands for understanding, love and affection, companionship and commitment by both of them. It makes two families closer than ever before. Each and every ritual associated with the marriage has a good meaning.
The Hindu wedding ceremony has three common rituals viz., Kanyadana, Panigrahana and Sapthapadi. The ritual of Kanyadanam is highly valued and is a significant part of any Indian wedding. The literal meaning of the word derives from two words i.e. ‘Kanya’ which means a girl or an unmarried woman and ‘Daan‘ means donation. So it connotes the donation of an unmarried girl.
Kanyadaan has much significance in Hindu marriages which has been passed from generation to generation and the practice is followed since time immemorial. It is a strong belief existing in Hindus that by performing the ritual of Kanyadana, all the sins of the bride’s parents and their forefathers gets suspended and their souls will be purified.
As per the Hindu traditions and norms, the bride represents a form of the goddess Laxmi and the groom that of Lord Vishnu. The parents assist in the union of the two Gods while everyone who attended the auspicious ritual bares witness. This Kanyadana ( Hindu wedding ritual) is performed as a means of providing consent from the parents of the Bride before the commencement of the ceremony of Panigrahana. Generally, the Kanyadana ritual is performed by the bride’s parents. Any other couple related to the bride’s family also can conduct the rituals in the absence of the girl’s parents.
In south India, the father takes the right hand of his daughter and places it in the groom’s right hand and says:
Kanyaam, kanaka sampannaam, kanakaabharana bhushithaam,
Daasyami Vishnave Thubhyam Brahmaloka jigeeshaya
Viswarambara:, sarvabootha: Saakshina: sarvadevathaa:
Imam Kanyaam pradaasyami pitrunam tharanaya cha.
I give my daughter( Kanya) along with gold and jewelry to you, Oh Vishnu to fulfill my desire to attain Brahmaloka and for the solvation of pitrudevatas(forefathers) i.e., spirits of the departed ancestors. After this, the mother of the bride pours sacred water on the palm of the daughter and lets it flow through the fingers of the bride and ultimately to the hand of the groom. Other mantras are chanted during the whole process and ritual of Kanyadana marking it an auspicious and religious ritual.
In our great Indian Epic Ramayana, Dasaratha the king of Ayodhya went to the palace of Janaka, the king of Mithila during the marriage procession of his four sons viz., Rama, Bharath, Lakshmana and Satrughna. Janaka, the father of Sita, Urmila and other two daughters of his brother and their followers welcomed them.
Then unexpectedly Dasaradha touched the feet of king Janaka. Janaka astonished and lifted Dasaratha, hugged him and asked “why he touched his feet though he is elder to him in age and that too he is the father of bridegrooms”.
Then Dasarath gave a wonderful and beautiful reply that “you are the donor of your virgin daughters viz., Sita and her sisters and I came here for asking your daughters’ hands for my sons Rama and his brothers . Now tell me who is great Donors or Donees”.
After hearing this king Janaka’s eyes filled with tears of joy and told him that in which house the parents have a daughter(s) they are fortunate and blessed ones. In every daughter’s luck, there is a father, but in every father’s luck, there may not be a daughter.
This is our Indian Culture which shows the greatness of a father who has a daughter(s) like Goddess Lakshmi in their houses. Fathers play a big role in turning their daughters into great women. Daughters also need great fathers. They certainly achieve name and fame in society in all fields when they have fathers who are honest and pious in nature. They make better relationship choices when they get married and live with all the family members and relatives of their husbands. They believe they can achieve their goals and they understand the importance of working hard and brought up their children in a decent manner.
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