Ascending the Stone
‘Shila’ means stone. ‘Arohan’ means ascending or stepping upon. The mother of the bride assists her daughter to step onto a stone and counsels her to prepare herself for a new life. A married couple are likely to encounter ups and downs, joys and sorrows, sickness and health. In spite of difficulties facing them they are enjoined to remain steadfast and true to each other.
Seven Steps Together
The bride and the groom take seven steps together as the priest recites mantras at each step signifying a different aspect of marriage that they hope to uphold together with the final goal of being true companions and remaining life-long partners through wedlock.
MANGALA SUTRA & SINDUR DANAM
Offering a Necklace & Vermillion to the Bride
The mangal sutra is a necklace the groom will give his bride. It is usually made of gold with small black beads which represent the sacred union between them. The husband places the mangal sutra around her neck and applies sindoor (vermillion) to the parting of her hair. These are both physical symbols that make her recognizable to the world as a married woman.
Honoring the Remnants of Sacrifice
In the last symbolic rite, the couple make offerings of food into the sacred fire while chanting Vedic Havan mantras. Having done this, the couple feeds a morsel of food to each other symbolizing mutual love and affection.
Blessings from Family Members
This is the final stage where there is benediction by the elders. Firstly, the priest blesses the newly wed couple, after which other elders do the same. The married couple take blessings from both sets of parents and any other family elders by touching their feet.
The Brides Farewell
The bride’s parents bid a tearful farewell to their daughter, wish joy to the newlywed couple, and blessings for a life filled with happiness and prosperity.