Hindu Wedding Celebrations

It isn’t very often that I get to go to a Hindu wedding. Chinese weddings, plenty. Malay weddings, maybe a few. Hindu weddings, I think this would be just the second that I’ve attended. It’s the first that I’ve been to at the Sri Mariamman Temple, the famed tourist spot located at the corner of South Bridge Road and Pagoda Street. Actually, this would even be my first time ever to the Sri Mariamman Temple, even though, technically, I did not set foot into the part of the temple grounds that most tourist would go to.

The wedding was held in the Wedding Hall, a different building from the main temple itself. It has its own direct entrance, from Pagoda Street (pictured above). It’s also accessible from the main entrance of the temple too. Fortunately, the clear directions provided by my host helped me locate the Wedding Hall’s entrance, because it is not very obvious it’s there when you’re looking around from the main temple entrance (or, for that matter, even from its side gate).

If anyone (meaning Chinese like me) thought Chinese weddings were elaborate and tiring… wow, I think the Hindu weddings are very much more so. The wedding rituals commenced at about 9am, and they were still going on past 12 noon. We were provided a “handbook” to help us understand the rituals. Allow me to quote:

A marriage is a sacred bond which unites two individuals as one and is performed in accordance with the Vedas, one of the most pivotal philosophical works in Hinduism. The ceremony is a collection of rituals performed by the bridge, the groom and their families, enhanced by opular Indian customs, in a mantap (altar) prepared for the ceremony. The priest conducting the ceremony recites Vedic verses in Sanskrit, the ancient Indian language.

In a nutshell, it’s a really very elaborate process. A Hindu marriage is considered a lifelong social and spiritual responsibility, so the whole matter is a very important affair, not just for the couple, but also the family and community.

Lunch was very nice. It was a simple vegetarian lunch, and it was very good. I don’t get to eat much of Indian vegetarian dishes at other times, and this lunch was wonderful. Chinese vegetarian is, comparatively, *ahem* somewhat uninteresting. The lunch was catered fromĀ Ananda Bhavan Restaurant, an Indian vegetarian restaurant established since 1924.

The rituals and blessings were still on-going through lunch. Yeah, I know it must be very tiring for the couple. The guests are lucky. We could go back and forth between the buffet lunch and the ceremony. That’s what I did myself. I was done with my lunch before I headed back to give the couple my blessings.

D & S: Have a happy and blissful married life together!

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