Kasi Yathirai (Or, Wherein after much fasting and even a re-engagement, I’m supposed to get cold feet?)
Me: [Run Away!]
Father-in-law: Boy, where are you going?
Me: I’m off to Kasi to further my studies and become an ascetic.
Father-in-law: The life of an ascetic sucks. Married life is better. I’ve got a very beautiful daughter whom you should marry.
The above is roughly the ritualised re-enactment that is a part of a traditional Hindu wedding ceremony
Mangalya Dharanam (A.K.A. giving away the bride)
At this point, my in-laws are tearing, which is understandable.
Priest: Now, chant as I tell you and tie just one knot. Your sister will tie the other two to signify the welcoming of the bride into the family.
Me: What kind of knot?
That wasn’t planned. It’s just that sometimes priestly instructions can be really vague…
Saptha Padi (Seven Steps)
Step 1 Groom’s vow: O!, you who feeds life-sustaining food, nourish my visitors, friends, parents and offsprings with food and drinks. O! beautiful lady, I, as a form of Vishnu, take this first step with you for food.
Step 1 Bride’s vow: Yes, whatever food you earn with hard work, I will safeguard it, prepare it to nourish you. I promise to respect your wishes, and nourish your friends and family as well.
Step 2 Groom’s vow: O!, thoughtful and beautiful lady, with a well managed home, with purity of behavior and thought, you will enable us to be strong, energetic and happy. O! beautiful lady, I, as Vishnu, take this second step with you for the strength of body, character and being.
Step 2 Bride’s vow: Yes, I will manage the home according to my ability and reason. Together, I promise, to keep a home that is healthy, strength and energy giving.
Step 3 Groom’s vow: O!, skillful and beautiful lady, I promise to devote myself to earning a livelihood by fair means, to discuss, and let you manage and preserve our wealth. O! dear lady, I, as Vishnu form, cover this third step with you to thus prosper in our wealth.
Step 3 Bride’s vow: Yes, I join you in managing our income and expenses. I promise to seek your consent, as I manage our wealth, fairly earned, so it grows and sustains our family.
Step 4 Groom’s vow: O!, dear lady, I promise to trust your decisions about the household and your choices; I promise to dedicate myself to help our community prosper, the matters outside the house. This shall bring us respect. O! my lady, I, as Vishnu, take this fourth step with you to participate in our world.
Step 4 Bride’s vow: Yes, I promise to strive to make the best home for us, anticipate and provide necessary things for your worldly life, and for the happiness of our family.
Step 5 Groom’s vow: O!, lady of skill and pure thoughts, I promise to consult with you and engage you in the keep of our cows, our agriculture and our source of income; I promise to contribute to our country. It shall win us future. O! my skilled lady, I, as Vishnu form, take this fifth step with you to together grow our farms and cattle.
Step 5 Bride’s vow: Yes, I promise to participate and protect the cattle, our agriculture and business. They are a source of yoghurt, milk, ghee and income, all useful for our family, necessary for our happiness.
Step 6 Groom’s vow: O!, lovely lady, I seek you and only you, to love, to have children, to raise a family, to experience all the seasons of life. O! my lovely lady, I, as Vishnu, take this sixth step with you to experience every season of life.
Step 6 Bride’s vow: Feeling one with you, with your consent, I will be the means of your enjoyment of all the senses. Through life’s seasons, I will cherish you in my heart. I will worship you and seek to complete you.
Step 7 Groom’s vow: O friends!, allow us to cover the seventh step together, this promise, our Saptapad-friendship. Please be my constant wife.
Step 7 Bride’s vow: Yes, today, I gained you, I secured the highest kind of friendship with you. I will remember the vows we just took and adore you forever sincerely with all my heart.
So, now we were married in the eyes of God.
Bride: I promise to love you, honour you, comfort you and keep you, in sickness and in health and be faithful to you so long as we both shall live.
JP:[Aside to my parents] Are they allowed to kiss now?
Parents: Not here in public
JP: So, by the power vested in me by the Republic of Singapore, I now pronounce you husband and wife.
Uncle: You may now kiss the bride.
And so, we were then married in the eyes of the state.
The wedding dinner itself was 6 days later. Apparently over here, it is common that even though there is a cake cutting, no actual cake is cut. The whole thing is made of plaster and there is a groove for the knife to go in so that it looks from really from away that you cut a cake. SSM related tussles with bakers suggest that this is not so common in the states. Has anyone attended a wedding with a fake cake?