Kanyadaan in Hindu Marriage
Spiritual Meaning Of Kanyadaan & Its Rituals
Hindu marriages and wedding ceremonies are full of diverse set of rituals which are packed with too much excitement and fun on one side and plenty of emotions on another. Other than the ritual of Saath Pheras in the Hindu marriage, there is one more vital and important aspect which is known as Kanyadaan.
It is profoundly one of the most emotional and heartwarming moments of all the marriage rituals where the father of the bride gives away her precious daughter to the groom. The ritual of Kanyadaan is highly valued and is a significant part of any Indian wedding.
Significance of Kanyadaan
Kanyadaan possess an underlying significance which has been passed from generations to generations and the practice is followed since the time of Vedas. The literal meaning of the word derives from two words i.e. ‘Kanya’ which means a girl or a maiden and ‘Daan‘ which means donation, so it symbolizes the donation of a maiden or girl.
As per the Hindu traditions and norms, the groom is regarded as the incarnation (avatar) of Lord Vishnu and the bride is regarded as the incarnation of Goddess Lakshmi. Therefore, the ritual possesses both religious as well as emotional significance for the bride’s parents.
Kanyadaan is usually performed by the bride’s parents which is also well-popular as Mahadaan. The ritual can also be practiced by any other elder member of the house in absence of the girl’s parents.
The ceremony of Kanyadaan brings the biggest transition in the life of a girl. The ritual marks the change in her role and identity from being a daughter to a wife. Kanyadaan is considered as the most pious, noblest and biggest thing which could be done by a couple.
As per the Vedas and scriptures, it is believed that, by performing the ritual of Kanyadaan, all the sins of the past and present births of the parents of the bride gets eliminated and their souls are purified.
The Process of Kanyadan
With a deed such as noble, spiritual and pure as this, there are certain rituals that are required to be followed by performing it.
- Fasting before Kanyadaan- Fasting is an important and significant aspect of the ritual where the father or any other elder member of the family is required to observe a fast and refrain from eating food and drinking water till the time Kanyadaan is done. In most of the communities, consumption of water is allowed in present time in the milder form of the fast.
- In the ritual of Hasta Milap or popularly known as Kanyadaan, firstly the father takes the right hand of the daughter and place it on the right hand of the groom, requesting him to accept the bride as his better half and an equal partner in all his endeavors. This marks the official ceremony of giving away the daughter to the groom.
- After this, the mother of the bride pours sacred water on the palm of the daughter and let it flow through the fingers of the bride and ultimately to the hand of the groom.
- Several mantras are chanted during the whole process and ritual of Kanyadaan marking the spirituality and religiousness of the ritual.
- After that gold, rice, betel leaves, copper coins, conch, betel nut, money, fruits and flowers are offered and placed on the palms of the bride and groom. All the rituals are carried out amidst continuous chant of the Vedic hymns by the priest.
- After the ritual, the groom places his free hand on the shoulder of the bride symbolizing that from now onwards the groom would be solely responsible for the wellbeing of the bride. It means that he has to protect and take care of his wife for lifelong, the manner in which her parents did.
It is perhaps one of the most beautiful aspects of an Indian wedding ceremony. Religion, spirituality, and emotions - everything combine into one during Kanyadaan.