Most commonly, the term kanyadan is used to describe the most highly valued form of Hindu marriage. More specifically, kanyādān is a certain Hindu wedding ritual and means “gift of a virgin” or “gift of a maiden” There are, however, different interpretations and practices across South Asia.
The complexity of an Indian Hindu marriage is owing to the fact that there are many rituals performed according to Vedic practices and hymns. Kanyadan is also such a ritual, which apart from being vital to the ceremony, tugs at the emotional cord of the bride’s parents. This is the moment when their beloved daughter finally belongs to her husband. Kanyadan is performed on the main day function of the wedding, during the mandap ceremony.
It is performed by the Father of the bride, where in he entrusts his daughter to the groom. In the absence of the father, Kanyadan is performed by an elderly relative or member of the family. As per the practice, the father of the bride places the right hand of the bride over the right hand of the groom. After this, holy water is poured on the palms of the couple while the priest recites Vedic hymns.
This way the father gives her daughter as a gift to the groom. As per tradition, groom is considered a form of Lord Vishnu. Thus, presenting him gifts, for both himself and his future children is deemed as the greatest honor for the parents of the bride. As a result, they offer their daughter to the groom, who is their most cherished gift. As a symbol of acceptance, the groom touches the right shoulder of the bride, promising to take care of her and holding her responsibility.
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