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For every religious community, marriage is an integral part of the community affairs. Suitable boys and girls are searched by the parents of both and marriages are solemnised according to the rules and regulations laid down in their respective holy books. In India, there are a lot of communities living in the country and marriages are held with much pomp and celebrations. Such occasions are marked by different rituals, fanfare and feasts. Among the Jains living in India, they have certain regulations prescribed in the book of Jain Vivah Vidhi, which is a holy book comprising of the rituals to be carried out with discipline in order to make the marriage a great event. In Jain Wedding, there is a speciality of declaration of the marriage ceremony in the public forum. This way the community is also invited so that various members are invited and participate in the rituals. It can be commonly seen that Jain wedding is not a very lavish affair as they do not believe in spending much on such occasions. As in many other communities in India, the Jains also believe in enjoying the marriage ceremony lasting over a few days. Hence, people and relatives can be assured of enjoyment and various ceremonies over a period of days. It is, like many other communities, spread over a few days, comprising of pre-wedding, wedding day and post-wedding rituals.
Some exclusive notions are associated with the Jain wedding, such as that of people from the community, marrying in the same religion, as they assume that it breeds Jain children strict to their religion. Rituals in Jain wedding are performed by the Jain pundits exclusively.
Some of the Pre-Wedding Rituals
Lagan Lekhan is supposed to be the finalizing of the proposal of marriage. This is between the families of the bride and groom and also among themselves. This is a puja, performed in the bride’s house, primarily being a house affair. On this day, the mahurat or lagna of marriage is also finalised. After the dates are finalised, a lagan patrika or card mentioning the final dates of marriage is sent to the house of the groom which also doubles as an invitation.
Lagna Patrika Vachan
In the groom’s house, the patrika is read which usually is done on the day of marriage or can be done on any other auspicious date.
The occasion of engagement is also termed by many as sagai or engagement ceremony. This is conducted in the house of the groom during which the traditional headgear is adorned by the groom and on his forehead the tilak is applied by the brother of the bride, along with gifts like clothes, watch, gold chain, token money and sweets. Vinayakyantra pooja is done just prior to the sagai, after the completion of which the Lagna Patrika is presented to the groom.
Barati or Mada Mandap
In most Hindu weddings, the arrival of the groom with bands and relatives dancing in groups is known as barati. Even in Jain Wedding, there is the concept of barati. All of them arrive at the house of the bride. The brother of the bride greets the groom with offerings made of sweets, coconuts and some money by other family members. The same gesture is returned by the to-be-groom.
Primary Wedding Rituals
The main Jain wedding ritual starts with this ceremony. The parents or the uncle of the bride, place some coins and rice on the right hand of the groom. Then the bride is given to the groom. After this, the parent of the bride makes a proclamation before the assembled guests. The priest pours rice and holy water thrice on the hands of the bride and groom.
In this ritual, a married woman ties the corner of the sari of the bride with the angavastram of the groom, with chanting of mantras.
Granthi Bandhan is the step that prepares for Phere, considered to be an important ritual. This is also a ceremony, which is supposed to be quite well known in many of the customs. There is a pre-decided auspicious time for the phere and then the bride and groom move around the sacred fire, four times, as part of the Jain wedding ritual. In the first four rounds, the bride is moving first, while the groom is moving first in the next three rounds. During this ceremony, there is the recital of the Mahaveerakshak stoot or mantra.
Sacred fire is burnt with recitation of mantra. These mantras are of different types, taken from sacred books of the Jains.
During this ceremony of Jain wedding, the ladies assemble during the marriage and sing the Mangal geet. This is done after the phere. The bride is made to sit in the left side of the groom and she is known as the vamangi, the better half. Groom and bride then exchange garlands. Then, the santipeeth and Visarjan rituals are conducted, as a mark of the end of the Jain wedding ceremony.
Few Rituals After the Jain Wedding
With the proper pujas of Jain wedding over, the post wedding rituals are mostly about celebrations of this auspicious occasion. There is the Ashirvad ceremony, where the elders in the mandap come to bless the newlyweds. Sva Graha Aagamana is the arrival of the bride and groom at the house of the groom, where the bride is given a warm welcome. Jina Grahe Dhan Arpana is the offering of donations to the Jain temple, as mark of the smooth conduct of the Jain wedding ceremony. All these functions are marked by sumptuous reception hosted by the family of the groom, to friends and relatives, where the bride is also shown to all the members, as she and the groom sit on a diyas on decorated chairs.