India is a land with diverse culture and rituals. One can experience different and new things every time; he visits a new city or state. Every city has got different practices and believes due to which there are a number of festivals and religions celebrated and respectively followed all over the country. Every religion is different from the other in terms of its customs and believes and so are the methodologies for celebrating their ceremonies.
Marriage is a celebration, of which the type and their customs vary from each region to even the ‘sir’ name attached with the matrimony family. The customs and the rituals followed in the marriages make it more interesting and fun- loving. The memories attached with the marriage of our loved- ones are ever- lasting and priceless. Of all the other religions the matrimonies of a catholic people are very different and moreover, it’s a practice adopted from a foreign land.
The matrimony of a catholic or a Christian couple can be practiced with or without the people or relatives present in the church. But most of the catholic couples prefer marrying in front of the masses present in the church to seek their blessing for their married life. The whole process is generally divided into pre, during and post marriage ceremonies as followed:
Pre- matrimony ceremonies
1. Engagement: Engagement or the exchange of rings is the most widespread ritual followed in Christians, with the groom and his family visiting the bride’s house. The ceremony is marked as the starting of the period as per which the girls and boy gets to know each other, it is not necessary entitled to end in a marriage, but if they are comfortable with each other and wants to lead a life of a married couple, they have to declare their marriage within six months from the time of their engagement.
2. Attending a preparatory course: The soon-to-be catholic bride and groom are supposed to attend a preparatory course before their marriage. The course can be for a day or for three days. A form needs to be filled, with the declaration of points related to their lives and an oath has to be taken on the bible that they are not hiding any information, also their certifications of baptism has to be produced in the church. The priest of the church declares their decision of marriage for three consecutive Sundays, after which the couple can get married.
3. Bridal shower: This ceremony takes place at the bride’s house where in she gives a party to her family as friends as a maiden. Gifts are distributed by the bride to her friends, cake cutting ceremony is done with a pink cake and a thimble inside which is distributed among the bridesmaids and the girl who gets the cake piece with the thimble is believed to get married next.
4. The Bachelor Party: The party given by the groom to his family and friends. This is to celebrate the groom’s last evening as a bachelor and a welcome for his new marriage life.
5. Arrival at the church: The catholic groom reaches the church before the bride on the day of the matrimony. The bride after reaching at the church is greeted by her best- man with a wedding bouquet and a kiss, after which the priest or the father of the church lead the ceremony and takes the couple inside the church. The couple is welcomed by a special song sung by their family and friends.
The final wedding takes place with the Catholic bride and groom walking down the passage along with the marriage procession. And then the ceremony begins with the priest welcoming the couple in the church by bestowing his good wishes and blessings on them. After this the Nuptials ritual takes place, wherein the Bride and the groom affirms that they are doing this matrimony with their own wish and they will give due respect and love to each other as husband and wife for the rest of their lives.
Then the priest makes them take the Solemn promise which they take by joining their hands, with the individual declaration of taking each other as husband and wife for their entire life. After the Solemn promise, the joined hands and the rings are blessed with the holy water by the priest to symbolize the presence of faith, love and blessings of God on the Catholic couple. The couple then exchange rings with the acceptance of taking each other as husband and wife. After which the priest announces the bride and groom as a couple, followed by a kiss to the new bride by her husband. At the end, holy scriptures from the bible are recited by the mass, followed by the father of the church delivering an interesting session on the sanctity of marriage.
This marks the ending of the celebrations for a Catholic matrimony with the reception party and the cake cutting ceremony, where all the relatives and friends wishes the newly wedded couple a happy and a successful married life.
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