Friday, April 22, 2011

My Indian Wedding - Pradhaana Homam

In Hinduism, human life is seen to have four great goals called purusharthas:

(1) Dharma - righteous conduct and the fulfillment of civic and religious responsibilities
(2) Artha - accumulation of wealth and prosperity by honest means, as well as pursuit of meaning
(3) Kama - enjoyment in life
(4) Moksha - spiritual liberation, as well as detachment

During Pradhaana Homam (Sacred Ceremonial Fire) part of the wedding ceremony, the bride and groom pray to Agni (God of Fire). To receive Agni's blessings they "feed" the fire by putting offerings of e.g. honey into it. Then the couple walks around the holy fire four times, symbolizing the walk of life. Each round around the fire symbolizes one of the purusharthas.

Anil puts honey into the fire. Notice that I keep my right hand on his lap, which symbolizes that I support his actions and that we put offerings to the fire together:

Neeta ties together Anil's dhoti and my sari:

It is difficult to walk when your clothes are tied together!

As we walked around the fire, Anil also put silver toe rings on my toes:

Toe rings distinguish married from unmarried women: