Thursday, July 31, 2008

pomp & circumstance

I've been looking up hindu wedding traditions and ceremonies, and there are some things that I really like... but there are others that I am not at all into.

I like all the physical actions, like walking around the fire, stepping on stones, throwing stuff in the fire, having our clothes tied together. Awesome. Sometimes symbolism is better at saying something than just explaining it out loud could be. I like the 4 "life goals" that the rounds around the fire are supposed to represent, I like the 7 things that you wish for when you do the 7 steps. I like that people in our families have special roles.

But I don't like that sometimes only the groom talks, or that sometimes the things we say are not the same. I don't like that my parents "give me away" to him, but his parents don't give him to me.

I wonder if we can change parts of the ceremony in little ways that no one will notice (it's not like anyone understands Sanskrit anyway).

1 comment:

Jaclyn Harr said...

It is my understanding that you can adjust any Hindu ceremony, as long as the priest you use is okay with it. So, for instance, we substituted my maternal uncle for some of the rituals that my father would typically perform, and that was fine. I'd suggest you try to find a well-educated priest - one who's been in the states for awhile.

One thing you should realize, though, is that Hinduism, as practiced by most Hindus, is a sexist religion, similar in nature to Catholicism or the Latter-Day Saints. Now, I think you can be a Hindu without being sexist, but most Indians are not, as modern India also currently does not have what we would recognize as fair gender practices.

From a practical point of view, I don't think you'll be able to keep the audience from noticing changes in the wedding script, if you do decide to change it. The "giving away" is a physical act - or at least it was in my wedding. Surely people will notice if there's a double giving away.