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Significance of Nischitaartham
The wedding ceremony is the most celebrated social event in
Indic societies . The concept of marriage as a major event
in a human life, can be traced back to Vedic times. Mostly
Hindu marriage ceremonies are elaborate ones and they may last
for a few days especially among those who are wealthy enough
to afford the same. Although the main wedding ceremony is a
one-day affair, there are different ceremonies that are held
on separate days preceding the main wedding ceremony.
According to Hindu religion out of sixteen ceremonies in a
person's lifetime, marriage is considered to be the
thirteenth one. In most Indic societies where arranged
marriages are not uncommon, the decisions regarding the
conduct of the marriage are made jointly.
Once they decide,
the date of the engagement and marriage is fixed. There
are various pre wedding functions and rituals one of which
is the engagement ceremony , and which is the most important since
it marks the beginning of the wedding ceremony.
In this day and age, especially among the Diaspora when an
extended courtship appears to be the norm rather than the
it is not uncommon for an engagement ceremony to be held months
before the wedding is conducted. It
is known by different names in different regions of the
country such as Misri, ring ceremony, aashirwad,
Vaagdaanam or Vaakdaana , Nischitaartha and mangni.
Nischitaartha means the
process of making a decision and a commitment to each other,
and is generally the term used in the Southern part of
India. The term literally means "firming up". The ceremony
is based on vedic practices going back over 5000 years
begins with a Ganapati Puja and consists mainly of
pledges between the 2 fathers. This is done by invoking the
lineage of the families and making a formal proposal for the
alliance. Variations notwithstanding, the general practice
is for the father of the bride to make the initial overture.
The affirmative response by the parents of the groom,
signifies the resulting commitment to the marriage
In the Western tradition,
an engagement consisting mainly of a proposal by the
prospective groom to the intended bride to marry him
is generally made in private and is accompanied by the gift
of a ring to the lady. an engagement party may then take
place depending on the interval between the engagement and
the marriage itself . Americans of Indic origin practice a
blended mixture of the 2 traditions.