First of all, this is not a bird related post. I'm taking a small sabbatical from birding to concentrate on a personal project - My Wedding. This is the first of a short series of posts that will detail all you ever wanted to know about an Indian Hindu Wedding. I hope this will prove useful to anyone planning a wedding.
Pls Note: I belong to the GSB - (Goud Saraswat Brahmin) community.
The Horror Scope!
Finding the Groom/Bride, usually is a tedious process which involves horoscope matching. While a lot of the older Indians swear by it, most have little or no clue of what exactly is getting matched.
The matching process involves calculating a Score using 2 birth-charts or horoscopes. The Max Score possible is 36. Cut-off marks are high. The couple need to score greater than 18. We scored 24.
The Mangal Dosh (made famous by the Aishwarya Rai wedding) is cancelled out if both the boy and girl have it in their horoscopes.
Birth-charts : Are documents created when a child is born into a hindu family, noting the date and time of birth, location (latitude and longitude) among other things. The positions of important stars and planets at the time of birth are noted in the form of a chart.
Note: South Indian and North Indian horoscopes contain the same info but are organised differently. Usually the date, time and location are used to construct a fresh birth-chart of a similar style for matching.
The system supposedly checks for 8 different regions of compatibily. For details, check out this article on Vedic Horoscope Matching
Traditionally horoscopes are matched by family priests. The priest will usually take his own time and provide a verdict. Details are usually not explained.
Several sites offer online Horoscope matching. Its free, detailed and the report is mailed to your email address.
We used Planetary Positions
Our horoscopes (one north, one south) were also matched by 3 different priests - 2 north indian and 1 south indian and all gave the same results as provided by PlanetaryPositions.
Once the formalities are out of the way, an Engagement date is chosen by the priest. Time is as important as the date. Usually no auspicious activity should be done at Rahu kala. The panchang( hindu religious calendar) is consulted to find a good time.
For Tamil Muhurtham dates:
For North Indian Muhurath dates:
Free Software to calculate a date:
Disclaimer: I havent tried this one myself.
Many communities dont have a ring exchange at the Engagement, although now a days the western practice of rings is increasingly followed among many ( After all - Who wants to say no to Diamonds? )
A Simple GSB style Engagement will usually be done at the girl's house. Ideally there should be elder relatives from the maternal and paternal side to bless the boy and girl. The girl and boy are expected to exchange gifts ( usually a gift of clothing ). A small prayer is said and the couple can seek blessings of all elders present by touching their feet. The families will exchange sweet boxes.
In the north indian custom, the exchange of gifts is far more elaborate. A complete set of clothing, foot wear, handbag, jewellery, cosmetics is given in addition to baskets of fruit and dry fruits.
The girls in the south will usually wear Saris though many are now opting for Ghagra Cholis. Note: Unless you have occasions to wear it again sometime, this is a dead investment. In south india, the girl will be expected to wear some amount of gold. Parlours offer makeup services for Engagements - Rs. 3000 from Lakme
The guys will usually settle for Kurtas. Suits are a big NO, unless you want to look like you're attending a seminar in Europe.
For Her : Sari, Gold/Diamond Ring, Gold Chain/ Ear studs, Shoes, Perfume, Watch, Handbag, Salwar suit
For Him : Shirt and Trouser set, Kurta set, Gold Ring, Watch, Sun glasses, Cologne
Buy Gold from Big Brands that will offer buy back ( in case you need to exchange ) and will also provide free Service. My engagement ring was from Gili and they replaced it at no charge when a diamond in it fell off.
Try to shop at a Mall that has a loyalty program.
Use a credit card for all purchases atleast till the wedding is over. The huge bills in the coming months will generate a lot of reward points that can be converted to vouchers or Air Miles. (Remember to pay credit card bills on time.)