Marriage in Hindu Religion
The behavior of people varies on the basis of their culture. The way people survive and behave in different environments is largely defined by culture. Individuals are governed by the rules of their culture. Women and men are symbols of two halves of one divine body in Hinduism. In the Hindu culture, marriage serves the role of not just joining the groom and the bride, but bringing two families together as well. Couples are allowed by marriage to own material wealth, undertake family responsibilities and achieve their physical desires. The focus of this study is on marriage within the Hindu religion. In Hinduism, marriage is considered a religious sacrament. Its aim is to advance spiritual development of the people.
Culture can be defined as all forms of learnt behaviors during growth of a person in a specific environment (Bailey and Peoples 19). Culture is dictated by ecological forces and this outlines behaviors. Such behaviors include morality, attitude, ways of life, language, and interactions between females and males among others. Since behaviors are shared in a culture, it is therefore a collective activity. In most cases, people from a similar region, religion or society share a global or universal culture. As such, identifying the culture using the name of a society becomes easy.
The functionalist theory postulates that culture is established on the basis of consensual values. The focus of this theory is on the functions of a family in which family is responsible for preserving stability and order in a society. Individualism is abhorred by functionalism since it harbors integration. The assertion of the theories of social action is that culture will not survive if individuals do not exist. Identity is developed through the interaction of individuals and this becomes the society’s mirror. A lot of emphasis is put on symbolic interactionism during the progress of a person who gives culture a definition. The Marxism theory proposes that individuals who produce services and goods for profit are capable of maintaining social control. Thus, they can create a culture.
How Indian Culture Celebrates Weddings
The belief of the Hindus is that a woman and a man play an important role within a marriage because their families are brought together by marriage. Marriage arrangements involve the parents of the two families. Wedding as a ceremony occurs in the home of the bride. Arrangements are also done here some days before the wedding day.
Wedding organizers prepare a small alter where guests relax during the day of the wedding. Both families and the priest give their blessings by shouting at the groom and the bride through songs. The parents of the bride give the groom the bride by letting the couple hold their hands together. A holy fire is ignited by the priest while reciting the mantras using the holy Sanskrit language (Mayled and Ahluwalia 106). It is expected that the groom will repeat holy words. These communicate the blessing of the marriage with a child or children.
The sari of the bride is fastened on the scarf of the groom as an indication of marriage in Hindu. A stone is availed and the bride is expected to step on it as an indication that she is ready to perform a wife’s responsibilities. The newly married couple goes round the ignited fire seven steps with a blessing being mentioned after every step. Everybody is allowed a chance to bless the newly married couple afterwards and also to wish them happiness in their marriage. The pilucinchuanu is a ritual during which a coconut is placed in front of the car that carries the couple away. This indicates that the wedding ceremony has ended.
Cultural Rules in Hindu Marriages
Marriage is an important social institution. Both the society and the state play a role in a marriage. As such, what the social institutions consider as the rules is the law to the state. Marriage in the Hindu religion becomes formal if no spouse is living with the parents during their marriage. Hindu religion still emphasizes on marriage arrangements on the basis of guidance instead of status or class. During marriage negotiations, the upper hand lies with caste systems. The groom ought to be aged more than 21 years and the bride over 18 years. Every woman should be married. Marriage ceremonies are planned before the time when partners attain the age that is acceptable for marriage. Cousins’ marriages are condoned by the Hindu marriages and they are considered incest. It also allows divorce although under circumstances that cannot be avoided.
Symbolic interactionism entails communication whose aim is to establish meaning for individuals. The main assumptions of the theory are conjoined to the meaning, thought and language. This theory upholds that meaning is at the core of the human behavior and language lets human bargain the meanings by exploiting symbols. Communication entails language use in enhancing understanding. Thoughts are exercised in this theory in interpreting symbols. On Hinduism concept, marriage is at the core of Hindu culture’s expression. In the Hindu religion, getting married is important in the life of a person. The process entails long preparations and continuous conversations. Priests and parents are required to agree in finding marriage partners when a child is born through the use of astrological charts. The belief of Hindu civilization and culture is that marriage creates a sacred bond. Only death can break this bond (Gangoli 37). Planning of marriage ceremonies occurs before the bride and the groom attain the culturally acceptable marriage age. Negotiations are allowed by the culture for the marriage because understanding is possible if there is communication. Through negotiations, confusion that might be in existence is eliminated before the families are joined together. Nevertheless, if the right message is not conveyed by language, the marriage will be unsuccessful.
Personally, I perceive marriage ceremonies within the Hindu culture as time-consuming. The ceremonies are expensive despite the fact that the parents bear the costs. The culture lets people understand their responsibilities in the society. Women in the Hindu culture do not venture into careers. They undertake domestic duties. The belief of the Hindu is that mothers play a vital role in the society and they enhance continuity. Women are valued more when they bear sons than when they bear daughters. However, the contemporary society values a child regardless of the gender. To some people, arranging marriages is an outdated practice and people should have the freedom of choosing the partners to marry.
Non-Verbal Communication in Hindu Marriages
Every culture is conscious in making judgment on the basis of looks, dressing modes as well as body language. In the Hindu culture, dressing and appearance depend on individuals’ location and occasion. Usually, men prefer trousers and pajama tops. Women on the other hand wear sari. They also wear bodice beneath sari. The outfit of the bride incorporates a white and red sari. The red color is a symbol of fertility and the white color symbolizes purity.
Couples are not allowed to touch as a way of expressing love. Only facial expressions are allowed as a means of expressing love. Silence is a symbol of approval or acceptance. Direct contact of the eyes mainly indicates absence of respect or rudeness toward the seniors. To male Hindus, curving the neck while greeting a female indicates respect. Couples are not allowed to show affectionate gestures any time they move together. This is because in Hindu culture some gestures are offensive. The wife should always walk some steps behind the husband.
The Hindu religion considers getting married as very important act in the life of a person. In the Hindu culture, marriage as a process brings two families together. Marriage is commemorated in the Hindu culture as a sacred act or sacrament called the Sankara. Three vital values are usually underlined by Hindu weddings. These are growth, agreement and happiness. During marriage negotiations, caste system is in charge. The parents of the two families that are joined by the marriage are involved in marriage arrangements. Marriage is prepared some days before the day of the ceremony. Marriage vows include taking seven steps which proclaim the way a marriage ought to be. The expectation of the culture is that the married individuals should understand their social responsibility because the society is vital than individuals.
Bailey, Garrick A, and James G. Peoples. Essentials of Cultural Anthropology. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Cengage, 2010. Print.
Gangoli, Geetanjali. Indian Feminisms: Law, Patriarchies and Violence in India. Aldershot [u.a.: Ashgate, 2007. Print.
Mayled, Jon, and Libby Ahluwalia. Philosophy & Ethics for OCR GCSE Religious Studies. Cheltenham: Nelson Thornes, 2003. Print.