interfaith wedding planner

Hindu & Buddhist By Hannah Walsh and Rebecca Swithenbank

Upload: rebecca-swithenbank

Post on 15-Aug-2015




2 download


Hindu & Buddhist By Hannah Walsh and Rebecca Swithenbank

Hindu – facts to know… ‘Hinduism’ cannot actually be defined because it wasn’t originally founded

as a religion. People outside of the India area, such as Greeks and Arabs and those living

in the vicinty of ‘Sindhu’ river follow ‘Hinduism’ as a way of life. Hinduism is the oldest religion on the earth and is largely observed in India.

Customs and traditions Greeting – they greet one another with ‘Namaste’ or ‘Namaskar’ and place their palms

together when doing so. They do not eat nonvegetarian food on Mondays, Thursdays, Saturdays and many

festival days.

In relation to marriage… Marriage is majorly arranged but with the consent of the bride and groom and they

take place only within the castes. If they marry outside of the caste, it is seen as ‘bad practice’.

Marriage is a big thing to Hindus and they even take out a loan to support this prestigious commitment.

A married Hindu woman considers her husband as ‘God’ and her husband considers her as his Ardhangini (half body).

Once married, a Hindu woman wears: Mangalsutra around her neck, bangles in her hand, and toe rings, which indicate that she is married. She also applies a Kumkum spot or sticks a bindhi between her two eyebrows.

Hindu women Men and women are both equal, however in practice,

women are considered inferior to men. Nonetheless, attitudes towards woman has had a gradual

shift in recent years and Hindu women are now getting more freedom. This allows them to be more ambitious with their careers and not just limited to a family. They are now a lot of women who are CEO’s of big businesses.

Having said this, in Hinduism, women need to upkeep their chastity and guard their virtue – it is very important. Although the same thing applies to men, it is often overlooked.

Vivaah Samskar (Hindu marriage ceremony) “Briefly stated, the marriage or the Vivaah Samskar is

the transition from the first stage of life, devoted to education and learning, to the second stage of life, devoted to building a household and raising children”

“They lead a productive life of work, service and enjoyment, fulfilling various duties, and obligations towards themselves, families and society at large”


In 624BC Buddha Shakyamuni was born as a prince and aged 29 he turned to a spiritual life full of meditation and ‘attained enlightment under the Bodhi tree in Bodhi Gaya, India.

Buddhism is a flourishing tradition in India where it originated but also in Asia, it is flourishing more amongst the West too

A pre-wedding ritual that is still heavily received amongst the Buddhism community is the ceremony of Chessian Bethrothal. Here the uncle of the bride (the maternal uncle) is seated on a raised platform with the priest chanting prayers and giving out the Madyan (a religious drink) to everybody.


A statue is also a thoughtful gift for a Buddhist couple. A statue of Goddess Laxmi, the Goddess of prosperity would be well received. And you can never go wrong with the traditional Maitreya Buddha, who brings luck, or the Kwan Yin statue, which inspires compassion and peace in the home.

Buddhists are expected to follow the civil laws of their country and state however a blessing can be received from a monk at their local temple.

Horoscopes are seen as ‘essential’ to match amongst the proposed couple before a date is set. The wedding date is set ‘in consultation with the astrologer.’

Traditional Buddhist Weddings

Traditionally the boy and/or his parents chose the future bride and approached her house supported by friends with gifts such as a white scarf called ‘Khada’. Once the proposal has been agreed the male traditionally offers gifts to his fiancée such as land.

After the blessing is fulfilled, the parents of the couple place a loop of string on their heads and then on the couples to signifying the connection they have made.

Red paste is applied to the forehead as a ritual before the wedding party descend from the temple onto the brides house

The grooms family place a pot full of water and flowers along with the bamboo sticks, in the entrance of the brides house, to signifying good luck.

‘The wedding is treated as one of the simplest marriages as there are no complex rituals to be performed. The entire marriage takes place as decided by the parents of both bride and the groom as Lord Buddha regarded marriage as a social affair rather than the religious affair.’

Traditional Buddhist Weddings

On the day of the wedding the groom’s family carries either 6 or 9 trays (the numbers 7 or 8 are seen as unlucky). Upon one of the trays is a candle that is lit by the bride or groom to represent the uniting of two individual souls and their families. Trays also contain lavish food and drink and another with jewelry for the bride which is offered as a dowry.

The wedding ceremony is solemnized after reciting Mangal Sutta and Jaymangala Gatha as this is seen as a blessing towards the new couple and their families.

Similarities Receiving and giving a dowry (a form of money or land which is

transferred as a ‘payment’) is seen as good luck amongst both Hindu and Buddhist religions.

Food: in recent times, meat-eating has become a more restrictive practice in both Hinduism and Buddhism. Eating vegetarian options is a fashion and a vanity among the elite and the middle class Hindus. Vegetarianism also give them an aura of superiority.

Hindu: Money is the most common wedding gift given to Hindu couples to help them begin

a good life together.

Buddhism: Jewellery is offered to the bride as a dowry and the groom has to offer a suitable gift

or money to the bride’s sister. (A dowry however is seen as more of a cultural aspect than a religious one)

DifferencesHindu: Gifts – To honor a Hindu couple’s marriage and beliefs, guests should never gift

them with anything made from leather, nor present them with anything that contains alcohol or present them with white flowers (which are given at funerals).

White is “the absence of colour” and only widows are allowed to wear this colour. White is only acceptable if worn at funerals or ceremonies that mark death in the family. White is symbolised as a colour that repels all light and therefore when a woman wears white, she is disconnecting herself from activity and participation in society.

Buddhism: During the rituals, Buddhists offer whisky and during the carrying of 6 or 9 trays,

they contain lavish drink for the bride, groom and families. Wine represents generosity.

Upon proposal, the man gives his fiancé a white scarf ‘Khada’.

Conversion Governed by Hindu Law, if a Hindu partner would like to marry a non-

Hindu partner then the non-Hindu partner must convert to Hinduism.

Interfaith Ceremony “When a Hindu bride or groom marries a non-Hindu, they

often wish to honor their heritage and families in a way that is sacred and meaningful, and yet simpler and shorter. It is not unusual to create a wedding rich in Hindu rituals that also includes traditions from the other partner’s faith and family.”

Reference List