Saptapadi – Seven Steps
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This part of the ceremony basically takes place after the tying of Mangalsutra as well as establishes commitment, which the couple makes to one another during a Hindu wedding ceremony. Literally, Saptapadi translates seven steps from Sanskrit.
The couple will take 7 full circles around agni, which represents the promises and principles they make to one another. Every step is known as phere. They’re tied together with chunis or dupattas from the ritual of Granthi Bandhanam that’s used for keeping the couple united whenever they make their rounds. Even if there’s no literal portion of the ceremony representing Western mentality of exchanging vows, such seven steps parallel that perfect in the couple vows to fulfill such principles successfully during their life of being married.
The following is the list of promises that the couples make as they complete every full circle. While the bride and the groom make their rounds, the priest will dictate mantras that pertain to every particular sphere. The groom will take the pinky finger of the bride and will lead her for the 1st four pheras and they switch places and bride will finish the last 3 through leading him to culminating step. Every sphere signifies a particular meaning for both the groom and bride, complementary meanings, which ensure that they’ll work as a unit in making the marriage prosperous, healthy, and successful.
While the groom and bride makes their rounds, their family members are present on Mandap bless couple with rice and rose petals, which celebrates the ceremony’s pivotal part. After the groom and bride have made the 7 rounds, they will look for the blessing of the preserver, Lord Vishnu and the goddess of wealth, Lakhsmi. It is also said that the bride and groom tied themselves together for 7 lifetimes to come when this portion of ceremony is done. Several Indian regions finish this ceremony through having the bride touch 7 beetlenuts while the groom will help keep the bride’s balance.
There are numerous regional differences that happen in executing this ritual. In the tradition of South Indian, it’s customary that the couple might take 7 steps due south with groom leading the bride by her finger around fire. The couple’s alternative positions and who’s leading every step, differs across the country based on religion and region.