Marriage is one of the most important Hindu ceremonies: it is a feast that swathes the bride and groom and their guests in an array of joyful colors and dances.
The ceremony can last as long as three days or more, depending on the traditions of the specific regions and origins of the bride and groom. It includes the presence of numerous guests who participate enthusiastically in the various ceremonies: the Mehndi – the decoration of the bride’s hands and feet, and that of the younger guests with henna tattoos; Sangeet, during which the guests and the bride and groom dance in Bollywood style, singing songs that recount the future lives of the couple.
The day of the wedding, flowers and colors decorate a gazebo under which a sacred fire is lit: the ceremony is celebrated in Sanskrit and the bride and groom exchange garlands of flowers and fruit. The Purohit (priest) ties the bride’s and groom’s robes together; they then make offerings to the sacred fire, thus obtaining a blessing. The marriage ends with the Seven Steps, the seven vows. This is the main, and also the legally binding, part of the ceremony at the end of which the couple are declared husband and wife.