Jain Wedding Rituals
Following the faith laid down by 24 Tirthankars in the ancient era, the Jain community is considered one of the most peaceful and reserved groups. Though they believe in a simple and nonpompous way of living life, their rich traditions speak volumes about their deeply rooted faiths. The wedding ceremony is one such ritualistic event that signifies the massive value of the Jain community’s beliefs and traditions that they adhere.
Though Jains are widely spread in the nation as well as abroad and there may be some differences in their ways of celebrating a Wedding, the essence remains the same.
The Jain Community is further divided into two sects- Shwetaamber and Digambar. Hence they follow a different number of wedding rituals. But here we will discuss the common Jain wedding rituals that are widely adopted and celebrated in most Jain families. Here are all the grand and small ceremonial celebrations of a Jain wedding that are segregated into Pre-wedding, During Wedding, and Post- Wedding rituals.
Pre-wedding celebration in a traditional Jain Wedding
1. Khol Bharna –
Image source: Wedding Matrimony
In a traditional Jain Wedding, the ritual Khol Bharna marks the auspicious beginning of the wedding festivities. Soon after finalizing the alliance of the boy and the girl, the groom’s close family members visit the bride’s place. They come with a platter made up of silver metal and it contains a Coconut. Several other gifts and token money accompany that silver platter. The groom’s family offers all of these precious things to the soon-to-be bride.
2. Tikka ritual –
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A quite similar ritual to the Khol Bharna is performed at the groom’s place. Now it is the bride’s close family members’ turn to visit the groom’s place with valuable gifts and token money. On the bride’s side, people apply a Tika on the forehead of the groom and offer gifts and cash as an omen.
3. Lagna Lekhan –
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A small event is organized at the bride’s place. The priest performs a meaningful puja and right after that, he decided the exact date and timing of the auspicious union of two individuals. Analyzing the Kundali and fixing the shubh muhurat is the only purpose to arrange this small gathering.
4. Lagna Patrika Vaachan –
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Some rituals make a Jain Wedding quite interesting and this one belongs to them. In this unique ceremony, the priest of the bride’s side sends the Lagna Patrika to the groom’s house. Here the groom’s side priest cites the content mentioned in the Patrika in front of all close family members loudly. Sometimes the elder person of the family also reads the Lagna Patrika in the groom’s home.
5. Manae Devaru Poojai –
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This pre-wedding ritual in the Jain community is not very common and is celebrated among the Jain families which specially belong to the south of India. In this ceremony, both families place a sacred pot-like structure that they regard as a deity. All family members offer a simple puja and pray for the wellness of the bride and groom after marriage and also seek blessings regarding an obstacle-free wedding ceremony.
6. Sagai –
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Not like other sects of the Hindu religion or other communities, the Sagai ritual is celebrated differently in the Jain families. The bride’s family visits the house of the groom with several gifts, clothes, sweets and other valuable objects. Here the members of the bride’s family perform the Tilak of the groom and both families exchange gifts, sweets and other things. In the Jain community, Sagai is considered the inception of the wedding festivities in both houses.
7. Mehandi –
Image source: Times of India
Jain Families also enjoy family gatherings and a lot of fun during the Mehandi ceremony. Akin to the other cultures, the females surround the bride and apply Heena paste on her palms, hands and feet. Though the mehandi designs in the Jain community are slightly different from other ones, the fun and enjoyment remain the same. Small intricate designs also embellish the palms of the groom. This ritual takes place two or three days before the Big day of the bride and groom.
8. Bana Betai –
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Again a similar yet slightly different ritual is performed in the respective Jain families of the bride and groom. Like the Haldi ceremony in Hindu culture, a paste is applied on the face and body of the bride and groom at their homes by the married women of the families. But here the paste does not include Haldi or turmeric powder. Instead of it, this paste is made up of chickpea flour or besan. After this significant small event, the bride and groom take a ceremonial bath and give away the clothes that they wear during the Bana Betai ritual.
9. Mada Mandap –
Image source: Swapanil and Shruti’s wedding
On D-day, the priest who is going to perform the sacred rituals of the pious wedding sanctifies the holy wedding Mandap or the specific place where the wedding will occur. Mada Mandap is the very first ritual that takes place at the wedding venue by a priest of the Jain Community.
10. Thamba Pratistai and Kankanam Katusthatu –
Image source: Swapanil and Shruti’s wedding
This meaningful ritual of a Jain wedding is also performed at the wedding venue by the priest. He places a sacred pot or vessel in front of the Deity and offers a prayer. Then he prepares a sacred thread in front of the deity which is recognized as Kankanam. Now the bride and groom come to that place and the priest ties this sacred thread to the hands of the bride and groom. After tying the Kankanam, the groom and bride are not allowed to see each other till the auspicious timing of the wedding or the Muhurat. This ritual marks the end of all the pre-wedding celebrations in the Jain community.
Rituals in a Jain family take place during the Wedding
11. Ghudchadhi –
Image source: WeddingWire
On the wedding day, the decently decked-up Groom mounts on the mare which is also beautifully decorated. All the females of the groom’s family and especially his mother give him headgear. They also put a Tilak on the forehead of the groom. Now groom goes to a nearby temple on the mare and seeks the blessings of the deities. After it, the procession moves forward and reaches the wedding venue or the bride’s place.
12. Baraati –
Image source: Weddingz. in
It is a welcoming ritual of the groom’s procession at the bride’s place. The brother of the bride welcomes the groom and all other family members. The groom and brother of the bride exchange coconut as an ominous start. Bride’s brother also offers gifts, sweets, clothes and token money as a sign of welcome ritual. The married females of the bride’s side sing traditional folk songs known as Mangal Geet for welcoming the groom. The bride’s mother also performs an aarti of the groom.
13. Kanyavaran –
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A very sensitive moment takes place at the Jain wedding while this ritual is performed by the bride’s father. First, the bride comes to the sacred wedding mandap and sits near the groom. Now the bride’s father put One rupee, 25 paise and a quarter of the rice grains on the palm of the bride and offer her hand to the groom. The bride’s father makes a public proclamation that he is giving his daughter to the groom. Now the priest chants holy mantras and pours water on the hands of the bride and groom thrice.
14. Granthi Bandhan –
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It is time to prepare the bride and groom for performing the sacred phera ritual at the Jain wedding. An elder married woman of the family ties the end or corners of the attire of the bride and groom. The tied knot is considered auspicious for this union of two individuals. The knot unites them during the Pheras of the couple.
15. Pheras/Phere –
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One of the most significant rituals of the Jain Wedding is recognized by the name “Mangal Pheraas”. In the Jain Community, only four pheras take place in this ritual. The couple walks around the sacred fire four times in which the bride leads the groom during the very first phera. The rest three pheras are led by the groom. During this propitious ceremony at the wedding, the priest cites the Mahaveerashtak Srot in a loud voice. Some females also sing traditional songs during the Phera ritual. After completing Phere, the couple recites the seven vows of married life after the priest.
Now the bride sits on the left side of her husband and is named Vaamangi. This term signifies that, now the bride is the better half of the groom. The couple exchanges the garlands and the wedding rituals come to an end by putting the sacred fire off in a very formal and pious way by the priest.
Post-wedding rituals of a Jain Wedding
Image source: Lin & Jirsa
The couple seeks the blessings of all the elder members of the family, relatives and friends for the new and married phase of their life. The younger ones also congratulate the couple on the wedding. This ritual in which both family members shower love and blessings on the couple is symbolized as the Aashirvaad ritual in the Jain wedding.
17. Bidaai –
Image source: Witty Vows
It is quite hard to transform the emotions of all the bride’s family members into words. The teary-eyed bride bids a soulful goodbye to her loved ones including parents, siblings, cousins, close neighbors, relatives and friends etc. The bride leaves her paternal home and heads toward her husband’s home.
18. Sva Graha Aagman –
Image source: Women Planet
When the bride’s procession reaches the home of her husband or her in-laws, she receives a warm welcome from her in-laws as well as the other family members of the groom’s side. After welcoming the newly wedded couple at the threshold of the home, the couple enters the home. Here a formal introduction of the bride with all close family members and relatives also takes place.
19. Jina Grahe Dhan Arpana –
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The newly wedded Jain couple expresses immense gratitude towards their deities for the successful or obstacle-free completion of the marriage and other wedding ceremonies. The couple visits a nearby Jain temple with close family members where they seek blessings of the almighty. After this, they distribute the essentials to the needy people near the temple or at any other place where poor people reside. These people also shower blessings on the couple for the beginning of their married life.
20. Reception –
Image source: The Economic Times
The grand reception marks the end of all the wedding festivities in the Jain Community. After two or three days of the traditional wedding, a lavish reception party is hosted by the family of the groom. They invite all the close and far relatives to this event. The bride’s family members are also invited to the reception by the groom’s side. The groom’s family introduces the bride to every person and the relatives pass the blessings on the newly wedded couple. Several gifts, clothes, sweets, jewelry and token money are also offered to the couple as a sign of welcoming the bride to a new home. This ritual is followed by a sumptuous feast at the place in which only vegetarian food is served to the guests. The Jains do not include alcohol in the menu of any of the wedding events as its consumption is not allowed in their community.
Thus a ceremonial event of the Jain wedding takes a pause here.
All the simple yet intricate wedding rituals are performed in the Jain families according to the Vivaah Vidhi mentioned in their religious texts. The Jain community strictly condemns the acceptance of the Dowry by the groom or his family. All the rituals are performed under the guidance of the reputed Jain priest but they also choose another priest if there is unavailability of a Jain priest. But it is mandatory that the priest should have deep knowledge of all the Jain faiths and the rituals associated with the auspicious wedding of two individuals.