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An Indian marriage is one of the most serious and sacred affairs in society. This is visible from the austerity with which it is performed. A Hindu marriage in particular is all about rituals and customs. There are a number of them which are followed before and after wedding, making it an elaborate ceremony. Every ritual and rite has its own meaning and cannot be done away with. However, the most important ones are performed on the day of the marriage itself. One such custom is solemnizing seven vows or pheras. For more detail, read on.
Without exaggeration, the seven vows or pheras can be said to contain the crux of the practice of marriage. This is attributed to the fact that love marriages performed in temples, marking the holy priest and the almighty as the only witness consists of seven vows or pheras. These seven vows are the seven promises which the bride and the groom make to each other for a happy and prosperous life. They are bound together by an unseen bond protected by these promising words.
These seven vows are known as Saptadi, which are performed along with Mangal pheras which is basically revolving around the sacred fire. Any marriage is incomplete without these vows and is deemed complete once they are conducted. On the day of the wedding, the bride and the groom sit under the mandap or the sacred canopy for this ritual. The bride is seated towards left of the groom before the pheras, while towards the right after they are complete.
The Seven Vows:
Groom: You will offer me food and be helpful in every way. I will cherish you and provide welfare and happiness for you and our children.
Bride: I am responsible for the home and all household responsibilities.
Groom: Together we will protect our house and children.
Bride: I will be by your side as your courage and strength. I will rejoice in your happiness. In return, you will love me solely.
Groom: May we grow wealthy and prosperous and strive for the education of our children. May our children live long.
Bride: I will love you solely for the rest of my life, as you are my husband. Every other man in my life will be secondary. I vow to remain chaste.
Groom: You have brought sacredness into my life and have completed me. May we be blessed with noble and obedient children.
Bride: I will shower you with joy, from head to toe. I will strive to please you in every way I can.
Groom: You are my best friend, and staunchest well-wisher. You have come into my life, enriching it. God bless you.
Bride: I promise to love and cherish you for as long as I live. Your happiness is my happiness, and your sorrow is my sorrow. I will trust and honor you, and will strive to fulfill all your wishes.
Groom: May you be filled with joy and peace.
Bride: I will always be by your side.
Groom: We are now husband and wife, and are one. You are mine and I am yours for eternity.
Bride: As God is witness, I am now your wife. We will love, honor and cherish each other forever.