I have always been an admirer of Hindu weddings and I have always been interested in Hindu wedding rituals and their significance. But one ritual that always made me sad and proud at the same time is the Kanyadaan, where the parents offers her daughter as a pious gift to the consenting groom who accepts her as his wife forever. While attending my sister’s wedding I asked my mother a lot about every custom of Hindu wedding but before I asked about Kanyadaan she told me something that I remember till this day. She said that according to the Hindu scriptures Kanyadaan is the biggest sacrifice a person can make and the parents that have daughters have this privilege.
The scriptures also state that according to Hinduism every man is considered the incarnation of Lord Vishnu and women the incarnation of Goddess Laxmi. When a father performs the rituals of Kanyadaan in an Indian wedding, he does so to ensure his daughter may bring good luck and prosperity to the family she is getting married to.
Hearing all this only one thing crossed my mind that then why do some families consider girl child a burden because if I believe my mother’s words then a girl child is a blessing in disguise. But this also encouraged me to learn more and I asked her about the significance and that is when she told me that there is emotional as well as ritualistic significance.
Well, to understand why the ritual of Kanyadaan is so emotionally charged, it is important for others to first understand what is a father and a daughter’s true bonding. This is not just something that is unique to India, rather it is a global emotion that fathers share a very special bond with their daughters while the mother has a close bonding with the son. Even if we take the example of the most possessive and rigid fathers you will be surprised to see that how they melt under the sweet smile of his daughter.
Fathers consider their daughters to be their most prized possessions and they take great care of their upbringing. They also pamper their daughters the most and fulfill all their wishes, despite receiving all the scolding from the mother! Their bond is so close that just the thought of handing her over to someone else can be overwhelming. However, it is a fact of life that no Indian wedding is complete without Kanyadaan ceremony.
This ritual is basically a part of only Hindu weddings and no other weddings in India, but this ritual is given more importance due to its religious implications. Any typical Indian wedding that you visit would start with pomp and festivity, with everyone cheering and teasing the bride and the groom through all those various rituals. Even the seven vows of marriages that the couple gives each other around the holy fire, bring on some teasing and smiles.
But, the atmosphere completely changes when the father of the bride places her hand over the groom’s hand. For the father of the bride, this is just a symbol that he is now giving away his daughter’s responsibility to the groom. Well, this is also considered as the noblest donation that can be made by any father as he gives away of the “prosperity” of their life to become the same for someone else. Thus, this a very emotional moment.
When I asked my mother the religious significance she told me that the grooms are considered as Lord Vishnu and Kanyadaan is the biggest offering that any parent can offer to the Lord. It is also believed that Kanyadaan purifies the parents of the bride of all their sins that they might have done in their lifetime. It is also a ritual where it is reminded to the groom that his bride is the most prized possession or a precious “gift” that he will ever receive in his life and that he must honor her and cherish her as she would receive at her father’s house. The groom also promises to take care of their daughter, forever.
Most of you who attend weddings are so busy satisfying their taste buds that you forget to witness the rituals so here is how the ritual takes place. During Kanyadaan the father of the bride places her right hand on the groom’s hand, well this is known as Hastamilap. Along with the Hastamilsp ritual, betel leaves, betel nut, flowers, dry fruits, conch, gold, and money are also placed in their hands. Thereafter, holy water or milk is poured over their palms, as the priest recites the holy verses from the scriptures.
The groom then keeps his hand on the bride’s right shoulder as his way of confirming that he accepts the responsibility wholeheartedly. This ritual also symbolizes that their fates and lives are now interlinked. In some communities, the hands of the bride and the groom are covered with a white cloth to secure their bond from the evil eye. Though Kanyadaan is no doubt an emotional moment for all the fathers and their daughters, it is also a very important part of the entire wedding as this is that one ritual that allows the bride to freely accept the new family and life that she is now a part of.
But before you reach the Kanyadaan step you need to find that suitable groom whom your father will willing give your responsibility and if you are a Brahmin then you can easily find that perfect match on Vivah Creations, one of the best Brahmin matrimonial sites.