A Christian wedding generally is conducted in a Church which is usually a quiet and beautiful affair with the bride in white dress with a veil on her head covering her face and the groom wearing smart suit.
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In Christianity, weddings are considered the union between man and woman prearranged by God. The holiness of the institution can be made clear from Jesus’ message, which lays down that wedding is a relationship, a union so real and intimate that ‘the two become one flesh’. Husband and wife are treated one in a Christian wedding. Being so significant to the religious mentor, Christian wedding rituals are conducted in church, among all friends and family members. Different groups of Christianity hold different opinions regarding marriage and have diverse ways of conducting it. Like all other marriages Christian weddings also have and post wedding rituals.
A Christian wedding generally is conducted in a Church which is usually a quiet and beautiful affair with the bride in white dress with a veil on her head covering her face and the groom wearing smart suit. The bride also wears a beautiful tiara or a bunch of white flowers and she holds a flower bouquet in her hand. The Christian wedding is elegant yet simple and involves the exchange of wedding bands and wedding vows by the bridal couple. The marriage ceremony is preceded by a group of choir singers.
Christian community is an integral part of Indian society. With a small but significant demographic presence the community has its rituals and practices for marriages. Christian weddings are known for its sobriety and elegance. These weddings don’t depict any sort of extravaganza. The wedding consists of pre wedding, wedding and post wedding rituals. These weddings are mainly solemnized in churches.
Pre Wedding Rituals in Christian Wedding:
The pre wedding rituals consist mainly of engagement ceremony. After this, there is the informal hen party known as the Bridal shower. All the females gather at the bride’s place and rejoice by singing and dancing. They shower gifts on the bride and she offers them a pink cake with a hidden thimble. Whoever gets the piece with the thimble, is supposed to get married next. Just like this, groom celebrates the Bachelor’s party with his male friends.
This is considered a wild party, wherein he celebrates his last night as a bachelor. Raising a toast is a must here. At some places, just like the Hindu wedding, the bride and the groom are applied turmeric and sandalwood paste. It is known as Haldaat ceremony. However, in Goa it is known as Ross, wherein the couple is applied coconut paste in place of turmeric. After all these rituals, finally the wedding day arrives.
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Bridal Shower – a pre wedding Ritual:
Bridal Shower is one of the major pre-wedding customs of a Christian Marriage. This is basically a fun-filled and enjoyable informal hen party, which is hosted by the bride’s female friends. Friends and relatives present gifts to the bride-to-be and give blessings for a blissful married life. Following the tradition, the bride serves a pink cake to all present. Distinctiveness of the cake is that there is a thimble hidden inside this cake. It is believed that a girl who receives the piece of cake with a thimble will be the next to get married.
Bachelor’s Party – a pre wedding Ritual:
Bachelor’s Party is the male version of the Bridal Shower and is hosted by the groom for his friends. It is really a stag party organized on the eve of the marriage or a couple of days before the wedding where a groom is expected to enjoy his last evening as a bachelor. A Bachelor’s Party typically begins by raising a toast before the drinking begins in earnest.
Wedding Rituals in Christian Wedding:
On the wedding day, the groom sends a car to pick up the bride and waits for her outside the church. After she arrives, the Best man of the groom welcomes her with a bouquet of flowers. Then the couple walks down the hall charmingly to reach the altar. There the priest awaits them and offers them best wishes. He then reads hymns from the Hoy Bible, which is followed by sermon called Homily on the sacredness of the marriage. Following this, he asks question to the bride and the groom regarding their consent for the wedding.
The couple makes promises to stay with each other through thick and thin and interchange rings. These rings are blessed by the priest first, to instill love and faith between the two. After this the couple is blessed by the gathering and the priest. The marriage concludes by signing on a register and the couple walks down the aisle, arm in arm. A copy of the signed page is later sent to the Registrar of Marriages.
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Welcoming the Bride – a wedding Ritual:
Unlike any other Indian wedding, the Christian wedding witnesses a ceremony of welcoming the bride (instead of welcoming the groom by the bride`s family). Groom sends a car to pick up the bride and waits for her outside the church. Following the tradition, when the bride arrives, the Best Man welcomes her with a kiss on either cheek and hands her a bouquet of flowers. Following this ritual, the couple walks down the aisle accompanied by the wedding procession. Inside the church, the couple walks up to the place where the priest stands for the wedding mass. The priest then welcomes them and offers his best wishes.
The Wedding Mass – a wedding Ritual:
The priest begins the wedding mass with hymns and selected reading from the bible. The priest then delivers the homily, with an importance on the holiness of wedding. The next most important ritual is the blessings and the exchange of wedding rings, which are the symbols of a bond of everlasting love and faith between the couple and marriage vows by the couple. Lastly, the newlywed couple signs the register and walks down the aisle arm in arm.
Post Wedding Rituals in Christian Wedding:
Like all the other Indian weddings, Christian wedding too is followed by a reception as the most vibrant and fun filled occasion. The Christian wedding is followed by a Reception, which is a gala party. It is a grand affair, wherein the couple is welcomed by the guest, with a shower of confetti. After this, the newly-wed couple cuts the wedding cake and feeds each other. The Toastmaster then offers a toast in the honor of the couple. Besides, the Reception party is celebrated with dance and dinner party. In many marriages, there is even a live band present, which plays tunes, for the people to swing on.
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