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“Weddings are important because
they celebrate life and possibility” is a quote by Anne Hathaway about her
viewpoint of marriage. Marriage is a union between a bride and groom to become
a married couple. When Jain couples are trying to get married, they have to
obey the rules of their religion. Both males and females are not willingly to
have sex before marriage. “According to Jainism, sex before marriage represents
bad karma for Indian people” (Priyanka Thukral Mahajan). Jainism is a long
religious wedding ceremony for an Indian couple. However, Jain couples must respect
their family traditions of three marriage ceremony stages: pre-wedding,
wedding, and post-wedding.

Pre-wedding helps the bride and the
groom to be prepared for the actual wedding ritual.  The five pre- wedding rituals for Jainism are
Laghana Lekan, Laghana Patrika, Vachan, Sagai, and Manga Mandap. Laghana Lekhan
is the beginning of the wedding ritual. Families, friends, and relatives attend
a small puja at the bride’s place. A priest goes to the bride’s place to
announce the date of their marriage. Next, Laghana Patrika Vachan is a similar
wedding ritual as the Laghana Lekhan. Jain Pandit writes a letter of the date
and time of the wedding.  The letter
written by the priest is sent to the groom’s residence. The second stage of the
wedding ritual is where the groom does a performance of Vinayakyantra Puja and
the bride opens the letter from the priest. The priest begins to read the
letter to families, relatives, and friends. Sagai is a Jain groom wearing his
head gear to a wedding ritual. When the groom completes performing the
Vinayakyantra, the bride’s brother comes to him to puts a tika on his forehead.

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A tika on the groom’s forehead symbolizes him being accepted into the bride’s
family. A priest reads the lagna prikta. The third wedding ritual ends with the
two families exchanging gifts with each other and the bride. Manda Mandap
starts two days after the Sagai.  Jain
Pandit visits the house of the bride and groom to conduct a religious ritual.

The groom and bride need to have a henna paste (tattoo) on their feet, and families
and friends have henna paste on their hands.  A Jainism pre-wedding gives an opportunity for
the bride and groom to establish a nice relationship with their families and
friends.

The six wedding rituals signifies the
official marriage between the bride and the groom.

Ghudhchadi
is a day before the actual wedding ritual. A head gear must be worn for the
Jain groom. The mother of the groom needs to put a tika on his son’s forehead.

“The Jain groom rides on the horse to visit the temple for seeking a blessing of
the Almighty” (Jain Wedding ). Barati is the groom
receiving gifts from the bride family.  The Jain bride and her brother exchange coconuts
with the groom’s family. Also, the bride’s brother sends a gift to family such
as: money, cash, sweets, and clothes. Aarti is a wedding ritual involving the
bride’s mother and a married female relative to perform the Arti and sing a
Mangal Geet to welcome the groom to the bride’s family. Kanyavaran is when the
bride carries the rice, one rupee, and 25 paises on the right palm of her hand.

She delivers these items, which were given by her father or uncle to her groom.

The bride’s father declares the marriage between the groom and bride to the
public. Then, the Jain Pandit chants a mantra and pours water thrice to the
hands of the marriage couple. Granthi Bandhan is a married woman in their family
tying a knot with clothes together from the groom and bride. Pheras is the vow
between the marriage couple. The marriage couple walks around a circle of the
sacred fire four times. The Jain bride leads the first round of walking in a
circle around the sacred fire before the groom and three other brides. When the
marriage couple is done walking around the circle, the priest chants of the
Mahaveerashtak Strot and the guest sing the Mangal Geet. Finally, the bride and
groom are done with the six wedding rituals and become a married couple.

            The Jain couple is married, but the
wedding ritual is still ongoing. The post-wedding ritual has five stages:
Ashrirvada, Bidaai, Sava graha aagamana, Jina grahe dhan arpana, and Reception.

First, the married couple visits their elders of both families to seek for a
blessing. Second, the bride leaves her parent’s home and says goodbye to her
family. Third, the bride arrives to her groom’s family. Fourth, the married
couple takes a trip to the Jain temple with their families to give money to the
poor. A married couple donating money to the poor means they are sending
gratitude to God for a prosperous wedding. 
After two days of the wedding, a reception takes place. Family, friends,
and relatives have the chance to meet the bride.  In Jainism, a post-wedding ritual is the
married couple getting blessings from their own families.

            Jainism has sixteen wedding rituals
for an Indian couple to encounter.   Jainism’s pre-wedding is like an engagement
party of American’s wedding.  The wedding
ritual in Jainism determines a test between the bride and groom to see if they are
well-matched. After the wedding, a married couple prepares to establish a new
family. Weddings in all cultures are exciting to celebrate because a married
couple can explore a new adventure of their lives together.

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