Before the wedding

All You Need to Know About the Rituals in a Jain Marriage

By Sabina Yeasmin, 12/01/19
Sabina Yeasmin
All You Need to Know About the Rituals in a Jain Marriage
Knotting Bells

Just like other communities of India, the ceremonies included in a Jain marriage are also deep-rooted into the values and traditions of the community. Let's deep dive into the traditions that make these weddings special.

The wide ways in which marriage ceremonies are performed in the country reflect the diversity of India from one more angle. While the rituals and traditions of some communities are known extensively, some often stay behind the curtains. We intend to take the curtain up today and talk about how a Jain Marriage takes place.

The followers of the ancient Indian religion, the Jain Dharma, are known as Jains. An integral part of the Indian diversity, Jain people has their own ways and traditions of living their lives, just like any other community.

Talking about their marriage ceremonies, each Jain marriage is different given the traditions and customs followed by its different sects and Jains in different regions. But the essence remains the same and most of the primary traditions are followed by all.

So, let’s see what it is all about!

Pre-wedding Ceremonies

Knotting Bells

1. Khol Barana and Tikka

Khol Barana is the inauguration of the Jain marriage ceremonies. As a custom, the groom’s family gifts a silver plate with the auspicious coconut and some cash as a Shagun. While this is called the khol barana, the tradition of the bride’s family going to the groom’s home with gifts is known as the tikka ceremony.

2. Laghana  Lekhan

The Laghana Lekhan is the ceremony in which the date of the wedding is decided after a Puja being conducted at the bride’s place. The precise date and time of the wedding are decided on this day.

3. Lagna Patrika Vachan

You will find this ceremony quite interesting and unique to the Jain community. Here, a letter, usually formal, is drafted. The letter contains the Muhurat of the wedding and is sent out to the groom’s family. The groom’s family opens and reads this letter in front of close relatives after a small puja.

4. Sagai

The Sagai or the engagement ceremony doesn’t involve the couple exchanging rings, like in most other communities. In the Jain community, Jain marriage is announced through a tilak. The bride’s family visits the groom’s family and gifts and sweets are exchanged along with a tilak ceremony of the groom.

5. Mehndi

The mehndi ceremony is just like in most Indian ceremonies. The females of the family gather and mehndi are applied on the hands of the bride.  

6. Bana Betai

It is similar to the Haldi ceremony but chickpea paste or the besan is applied to the bride and the groom followed by a ritualistic bath.

The Jain Marriage

Photo Courtesy: The Wedding Toast

1. Mada Mandap

The Mada Mandap is the ritual of sanctifying the Mandap where the wedding is to take place. It’s one of the first rituals performed on the day of a Jain marriage.

2. Ghudchadi

And something similar once again! The Ghudchadi is the ceremony in which the groom initiates with the Barat on his horse. The females of the house tighten the headgear and apply tilak on the groom’s forehead before the procession starts.

3. Barati

In simple language, we understand Barati as the procession with the groom but as per Jain rituals, Barati is the welcome of the procession by the bride’s family. The bride’s brother also gives a welcome gift to the bride which contains coconuts, sweets, clothes, and other things.

Traditional folk song is than sang by the bride’s mother and other married females of the house while welcoming the groom with a tilak. Quite a traditional scene, isn’t it?

4. Kanyavaran

And then comes the most emotional custom of all, the giving away of the bride! The parents of the bride present the bride to the groom and make a declaration of their daughter being married to the groom. The groom takes the bride’s hand (which consists of a rupee and a quarter along with some rice) and the pundit chants the mantras.

5. Granthi Bandhan

Granthi Bandhan is the ritual in which a married woman of the family ties the ends of the bride and groom’s clothes.

6. Pheras

The pheras are similar to the Hindu tradition in which the bride and groom take seven rounds around the fire and take their wedding vows.

6. Bidaai

The family members bidding farewell to their daughter is known as the Bidaai ceremony. We fail to put the emotion of the moment into words.

Post-Wedding Ceremonies

Through the Barrel

1. Sva Graha Aagamana

And after a tearful ending, arrives a happy beginning. The bride is welcomed to her in-laws' house with rituals, which differ as per the region and local sects. After that, a ritual is performed in which the couple visits a Jain temple and distributes alms to the poor.

2. Reception

Organised after a day, or a couple of days after, the reception is held by the groom’s family where relatives and friends come and bless the couple for a happy married life.

Just like other communities of India, the ceremonies included in a Jain marriage are also deep-rooted into the values and traditions of the community. To have such variant ways of getting married is only seen in India, truly incredible India.

How has your experience of attending a Jain wedding been? Do tell us in the comments below.

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