I was recently asked by a family friend if I’d want to have a court marriage instead of a proper ceremony. To that I, very honestly, told him that I would prefer a proper wedding inclusive of all the ceremonies. The judgemental look I got for this reply was enough for me to realize that he didn’t approve of it. But giving that awful look wasn’t enough for him I suppose, it was accompanied by a slight “why do you want to spend your money hosting random relatives and create an event out of your marriage?!”
Why does one think that the sole reason for having a proper wedding is that one wants to make an event out of it? What about the emotional value and the cultural importance affiliated to these ceremonies? Being a hindu, a hindu marriage has three important aspects- kanyadaan, panigrahana, and saptapadi. In the most lay man language, when one goes to explain these three aspects, one can say-
- kanyadaan is the giving away of the daughter by her father
- panigrahana is the voluntary holding of hands by the groom of the bride near the fire which signifies the union of the bride and the groom
- saptapadi is the taking seven steps around the holy fire wherein each step is a form of a promise.
The basis of these vows- of being together in happiness and otherwise, being supportive of each other, of taking care of each other, respecting one another, and so on- is almost the same in case of different religions, castes and sub-castes.
My point is why do we take away the importance of such a holy union and reduce it to a mere marriage certificate? What is it that is making us erode the edges and reduce things to make them seem irrelevant? Have these practices got no place in our modern lives now?
Criticizing one’s choices is hardly my intention, I’m hardly in a place to do that. This write-up is barely about sparking a debate between court marriages and traditional ceremonies. My sole goal, however, is trying to invoke some realization, raise my doubts, jog your treadmill of thoughts, for,
Culture does not make people,
People make culture.