Documentary Project

Melvin Mapa Hindu Wedding documentary at Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple, Singapore

The Hindu wedding or Vivaha, as it is regionally called, is one of the most sacred and elaborate celebration in Hindu tradition. I witnessed its intricate process and rituals when I documented a wedding at the Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple along Serangoon Rd. in Little India, Singapore. It was a unique experience documenting this event. Its long celebration teeming with rituals, dances, music, and abundant food offerings all fused together is truly incredible and eye-opening. 

 

Documenting this made me realise how important customs and traditions are in every culture. It provides us the depth of understanding of how we came to be. Customs and traditions are our history as a people, it’s our identity, and our unique knowledge. It is a very large part of who and what we are, and we should all embrace it.

A thavil player starts playing to signal the start of the wedding rituals. A thavil drum is an essential component of wedding ceremonies in India.

A nadaswaram player starts playing to signal the start of the wedding rituals. The nadaswaram is considered to be an auspicious musical instrument and is played in almost all Hindu weddings and temples.

Both sides of the family looks on. Hindu ceremony involves marriage rituals not only between the bride and the groom but also bringing together both sets of families.

Ceremonious fruits and grains were among the offerings presented during the ceremony.

The Hindu priest next to a Vivaha-homa, the sacred fire.This is a direct invocation to the god Agni, the divine witness to a Hindu wedding. The priest offers crushed sandalwood, ghee, herbs, and rice to the fire while reciting Vedic prayers over it.

Family huddled around the bride. All immediate family members participate in the various rituals. These are meant to integrate both families.

The couple exchanging flower garlands.

The couple exchanging flower garlands.

The Rajaham symbolic rite of mutual love and affection. This is where the bride places both her hands into the groom's while her brother places rice into her hands. Together the bride and groom offer the rice as a sacrifice into the fire.

The bride prepares to walk around the fire with her groom in the Agni Pradakshina.

The Agni Pradakshina. Here the couple circumambulates the fire together while guests and families call out good wishes for their marriage. This is a symbol of their transition to married life. This stage is also one of the most auspicious parts of the ceremony.

The groom prepares to put a ring on his bride’s foot.

The bride and groom engaged in a chat.

In this particular wedding, fruits were given to devotees after the ceremony.

The priest relaxes after conducting the ceremony.

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