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Kanyadaan which translates to a donation of a daughter (Kanya meaning daughter and daan meaning donation) is a ceremony performed at Hindu weddings by a senior male figure from the bride's side symbolizing him giving away their daughter to the groom's family. Unlike today's perception of kanyadaan as trading a daughter from one family to another, originally kanyadaan was a moral concept revolving around acceptance, a ceremony performed to represent that the parent is asking the groom to promise to accept, respect and treat their daughter as their equal in all manners while the audience bears witness to the promise.
Story and Origin of Kanydaan
In a Hindu wedding, the groom is considered to be an incarnation of Lord Narayana whereas the bride is considered to be the incarnation of Goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity and the parents are assisting in the union of the two 'Gods'. This belief is the reason behind another ritual of welcoming the bride to her in-laws with the plate of Alta (a liquid mixture of water and vermillion powder) where she is asked to step on the plate and then enter the house. The red footprint of the bride signifies the arrival of Goddess Lakshmi.
The bride is asked to step on the plate and then enter the house. The red footprint of the bride signifies the arrival of Goddess Lakshmi.Adobe Stock
How the Kanyadaan ceremony is performed.
Kanyadaan is performed as the father places his daughter's right hand into the groom's right hand asking him to accept her, the joining of both their hands is called 'Hastamelap' (meeting of hands), then the Mother of the Bride pours holy water on to the palm of her husband's hands, allowing it to flow through his fingers onto his daughter's hand and later into the groom's hand. Rituals are chanted during this process and the veils on the faces of the couples are lifted once kanyadaan has been observed. Later the groom's sister ties the end of his scarf, to the bride's sari with betel nuts, copper coins, and rice – symbolizing unity, prosperity, and happiness for the couple. The knot represents the eternal bond that comes with marriage.
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It is believed that the practice of Kanyadaan did not exist during The Vedic Period, instead, the women had the right to choose if they wanted to get married or stay single, they had the right to pursue education. But as the social system of society changed women were barred from the rights they always had. As the concept of class, caste, superior gender and other factors rose the social norms changed and the false notion of kanyadaan came into existence. There was an increase in child marriage which led to seeing the girl-child as a "burden" to the parents. And not just kanyadaan adding to these were traditions like giving gifts, jewellery, cash to the bride that took the form of dowry. Women were asked to wear sindur (red dye worn in the hair), mangalsutra (thread worn around neck), bichiya (toe rings) and bangles to signify that a woman is married. However, there is no mention of any such practice in The Vedas, women had the independence to choose to wear any ornament of liking.
Even the practice of washing the feet of the groom and his family upon their arrival originated in older times because usually the groom and their family would travel to the bride's village on foot or otherwise due to the unavailability of vehicles at the time. Hence, the bride's family used to offer their dirty feet after the long journey as an act of service and kindness. These days we have vehicles to travel to so, there is no need for such practice anymore.
Revolts against Kanyadaan
During today's era Kanyadaan is perceived as a misogynistic practice and whatever moral meaning it held in olden times has been lost in time. There has been an increase in the number of people choosing to do away with misogynistic systems. Feminists view kanyadaan as a practice of sheer objectification of women. Several women have also revolted against it stating they are not a physical property neither of their father nor their to-be husband that can be traded through a practice like kanyadaan with additional practice of dowry, which makes it almost look like that the bride's father is paying the groom to take away his burden. In some weddings "putradaan" has been performed where the bride makes all the promises instead of the groom during the wedding.
However, deeply religious people continue to believe that the practice is not about objectification rather it holds value for the bride and her parents as it is the moment in a woman's life where she is transformed from a daughter to a wife. They argued for the age-old practice should not be criticized.
Traditions and logic have been in conflict with each other in India for a long time. Whether one believes in the system or not is a matter of personal choice. But it is imperative to make an informed and educated choice. India is trying to adopt a reasonable and progressive point of view, and each small effort can make a huge difference.
By Prerana Agarwal Saxena
In all the wedding excitement, it's easy to overlook the impact a wedding has on the environment. While everyone is making their big fat Indian wedding dreams come true, they are also adding their carbon footprint and undue energy consumption. Modern couples are now looking for ways to have a wedding with a sustainably conscious mindset. It's become about incorporating less waste, locally sourced and seasonal food, natural materials over the use of plastic. Mindful wedding planning and decor includes the use of recycled paper and goods along with eco-friendly venue needs. Check out this quick guide to achieve a sustainably conscious wedding without compromising on luxury:
Choose locally sourced material to uplift artisans
Sustainable can be luxurious too, incorporate some native flavour into the decor and theme. With the use of locally sourced materials and local artisans coming into play, the wedding instantly becomes sustainable. Include the work of local vendors ensure minimal packaging requirements, thus saving on unnecessary plastic and lamination. It also decreases the need for transporting elements from other cities and hence lowers the carbon footprint. For instance, at one of our weddings, we made use of sand art for a setup in Jodhpur. This helped promote local work while also being environmentally friendly with zero wastage of other materials. In another instance from Rajasthan, the traditional glass-blown technique was used to build decor items while giving a cultural touch to the destination wedding.
Sustainable can be luxurious too, incorporate some native flavour into the decor and theme. | Photo by Jason Coudriet on Unsplash
Say yes to recycling
One should be mindful and avoid the use of plastic and other non-recyclable materials in decor wherever possible. It can be a small step such as making a conscious switch from plastic water bottles to copper jugs or glass bottles. Also use artificial floral decor thus minimising the wastage produced from real flowers. This recyclable decor is then donated to various NGOs, further ensuring sustainable use of resources. Such steps, however small they might be, keep the environment free from the release of any additional carbon footprint.
One should be mindful and avoid the use of plastic and other non-recyclable materials in decor wherever possible. | Photo by Ravin Rau on Unsplash
Go for zero-waste wedding decor
Make use of fabric as it enhances the elegance of the wedding while being sustainable. Include vibrant colours apt to the theme of the wedding and bring in bright sprightliness with breathable fabrics. Ensure to include LED lights for lighting. They can be incorporated as string lights or be used on passageways with innovative decor items. They also help conserve energy and bring in soulful energy for nighttime decor. Choose virtual invitations, keeping up with the digital times. Make a conscious choice of plated dinner menus rather than a buffet as they allow less wastage of food and ensure enough food for guests in attendance.
LEDs can be incorporated as string lights or be used on passageways with innovative decor items. | Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash
Include Sustainable Gifting
Gift sustainable wedding favours -- gifts that grow. Offering a plant or a succulent, is a great idea. One can also gift recycled organic fabrics and cutlery or zero-waste kitchen and bathroom essentials to use in their homes as some distinct gifting options.
Gift sustainable wedding favours -- gifts that grow. | Photo by Kira auf der Heide on Unsplash
Acting in the best interest of the environment and the society, Theme Weavers Designs has started a social cause, Weaving Hope, where a part of their earnings along with food and decor are donated to social communities. Royal Rendezvous, is an event started by us to put India on the Global Map, inviting international wedding planners to India to experience the rich culture and heritage, also employing and displaying the work of local artisans to this international audience.
By applying the values of sustainability, you can reduce the energy consumed and the resources used as much as possible. Go ahead and have a luxurious zero-waste wedding and navigate into the world of green living! (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Luxurious , Gift, sustainable, wedding favours, gifts that grow. Gifting, recycling, locally sourced, material. zero-waste
Wedding decor can be fun if you love to design. Interior designers are often involved in wedding themes these days and Aatika Manzar, Founder Director at Aatika Manzar Designs share some simple ideas to help them plan a beautiful wedding:
Start with a theme wedding
All the designs get aligned in accordance with the theme you choose. Once you have a theme, everything can be worked according to that. A vintage/opulent theme is the most common in India because it comes with a traditional touch. The glamorous theme is popular too with shiny crystals, beautiful lights, and flowers. The colour scheme which usually is rich purple accompanied by a neutral beige carpet. It feels like the wedding took place in a castle amidst huge chandeliers, deep maroon furniture with gold polish, and lots of candles.
Draped ceilings can add a hint of glamorous opulence to your venue. Photo by Jeremy Wong Weddings on Unsplash
Create a romantic ambience
Start with string lights hung from the ceilings of the reception space. Or, if it's an outdoor wedding, weave lights through trees and branches for a whimsical vibe. Creative lighting is one of the biggest wedding trends for 2021, so don't overlook it. String lights, along with votive candles, neon signs, or tea lights, can create a welcoming visual aesthetic that'll transform your space. Rent hanging lights from a local vendor, or invest in affordable sets from a local hardware store to make it a DIY project. Lighting is a key detail that'll accent your reception venue -- and of all the best wedding decor ideas, it's one of our favourites.
Have a green wall
Statement florals will be everywhere in 2021. If you're looking for a standout decoration idea, consider a green wall. A cluster of greens will bring fresh life into your reception space, and it can serve as a unique photo backdrop too. Leave your wall as is, or dress it up with a custom neon sign or string lights around the outer edge. If you're looking for functionality, a green wall can work anywhere in your wedding venue -- use it behind the altar as a ceremony backdrop, then transfer it to your reception venue to get as much usage as possible.
If you think you're seeing marquee letters everywhere, you're not alone
Couples are taking signage to a new level with large letters to spell their names or send a message to guests. If you're working with a large reception room, marquee letters will fill the space nicely (especially if they have light bulbs on them). Rent letters from a local vendor to use at your celebration. Arrange them in your initials, your shared last name, or in a welcome message.
Suspending lush arrangements a few feet above your guests' dinner plates is a unique way to create a more intimate space. Photo by Álvaro CvG on Unsplash
Don't underestimate the power of fabrics
Draped ceilings can add a hint of glamorous opulence to your venue. (For a rustic finish, string lights above the fabric to cast a soft glow over the space). Keep it formal with white drapes, or experiment with coloured material for an avant-garde look. Draped ceilings will be an attention-grabber, keep the rest of your reception decor minimal to avoid overpowering the space.
Flowers aren't just reserved for your centerpieces
Suspending lush arrangements a few feet above your guests' dinner plates is a unique way to create a more intimate space. Hanging flowers from the ceiling will also add dimension to the room, and it's a special way to transform the venue and make it unique.
Creating a lounge area:
A sweetheart table is a romantic way for couples to enjoy the reception together. And, if you're looking for ways to enhance your venue, it can be a focal point for decorations. Arrange the area with flowers, elegant candle holders, statement chairs, a neon sign, or rose petals surrounding your seats to bring colour and texture to the room.
2021 will give rise to small weddings and intimate decor ideas. So focus more on DIY decor plans that are cost-effective and look great in small areas.
(Article originally published by: N. Lothungbeni Humtsoe) IANS/SS
Keywords: wedding, decoration, aisle, world
During the days of slave trade in the ancient Roman Empire, it was a common practice to place a ring on the slave's finger as a sign of possession. Sometimes, they were even made to wear a ring on the septum of their nose. The slave ring was traditionally made of iron, with a ring attached to it on top.
Over the years, the idea of possession grew into a symbolism that needed expression. Men began to mark everything that belonged to them with a symbol allocated to their family name. they wore a signet ring which bore this mark, and every object in the household, from the cattle, to the vase, was marked. The Romans looked upon their wives as property too, and made them wear rings as a sign of being taken. To differentiate between the slaves and the mistress of the house, different metals were used. The slaves wore iron rings, and the master's wife, wore a golden band. Back then, the rings also symbolized social status.
Rings of the Roman and Byzantine empire bore a signet mark Image source: wikimediawikimedia
Once the slave practice was abolished, men used to tie reeds, braided ropes, and other such materials to their wives, as a symbol of ownership. They did not tie these to the finger, but to the extremities of the body, more out of superstitious beliefs than anything else. It is probable that men believed that tying the ends of a woman's body prevented her spirit from leaving the body. Early death was common due to early marriage and unhealthy birthing practices.
It was much later that the idea of a more durable wedding ring came into place. It held differing connotations to the people, and continued to symbolize social status based on the metal it was made of. History has a record of puzzle rings, gimmel rings, and posy rings. These were tokens of love, and were also used as tests of fidelity.
Puzzle rings were a test of fidelity, as removing them resulted in the whole thing falling apart Image source: wikimediawikimedia
During the world wars, men also began to wear wedding rings. There were two reasons for this. The men who left their wives behind wanted other men to know that she was already committed to another, and the wedding band on her finger signified this. For the men who went to war, the rings on their fingers were reminders of those at home who awaited their return. The ring took the shape of a thick metal band with no meeting end. This symbolized unending love and was durable enough to survive war.
Posy rings were engraved at the back with poems or pledges of love Image source: wikimedia
Although today, the wedding ring is just a piece of jewellery that carried romantic notions, it is still a reminder of the rather unfortunate history associated with it. to a certain extent, it holds true to the nature of its everlasting commitment, and still is a mark of ownership. In Oriental and Asian countries, the ring is accompanied by another matrimonial symbol and so is not solely responsible for upholding the social bearing it originally had. Yet, many couple smile fondly to think that they belong to their significant other once a ring is placed on their fingers.
Keywords: Weddings, Rings, War, Promise