The 7 Steps (or Blessings) in a Hindu Wedding Ceremony
Saptapadi is the most important ritual of a Hindu marriage ceremony. The word, means “Seven steps”. After tying the Mangalsutra, the newly wed couple take seven steps around the holy fire, that is called Saptapadi. After the seventh step, the couple legally become husband and wife.
A traditional Hindu wedding ceremony is elaborate and complex, incorporating fifteen specific rituals. There are no vows in the Western sense, but the Seven Steps, or Saptha Padhi, around a flame (honoring the fire god Agni) spell out the promises the couple makes to each other:
“Let us take the first step to provide for our household a nourishing and pure diet, avoiding those foods injurious to healthy living.”
The Hindu ceremony, a rite known as “Samskara,” has many components and it is quite beautiful, specific and filled with chanting, Sanskrit blessings and ritual that is thousands of years old. In India, it can last weeks or days. In the West, it typically is at least much shorter.
It is the role of the Hindu priest sometimes known as a pandit to lead a couple and their families through the sacrament of marriage. However, as an nondenominational minister, I’ve had the good fortune of being called upon by Hindu brides and grooms and couples who love Hindu rituals, to incorporated some of the rites into non-denominational, interfaith or multi-faith ceremonies.
In India an important aspect of the Hindu ceremony is to light a sacred fire, created from ‘ghee’ (clarified butter) and woolen wicks, to evoke the God, Agni (Fire God), to bear witness to the ceremony.
May this couple be blessed with an abundance of resources and comforts, and be helpful to one another in all ways.
Let us take the second step to develop physical, mental, and spiritual powers and may this couple be strong and complement one another.
Let us take the third step to increase our wealth by righteous means and proper use and may this couple be blessed with prosperity and riches on all levels.
Let us take the fourth step to acquire happiness, knowledge and harmony by mutual love and trust and may this couple be eternally happy and content.
Let us take the fifth step so that we are blessed with strong, virtuous, and heroic children.” and may this couple be blessed with a happy family life.
Let us take the sixth step for self-restraint and longevity and may this couple live in perfect harmony in accordance with their personal values and their joint promises.
Finally, let us take the seventh step and be true companions and remain lifelong partners by this wedlock and may this couple always be the best of friends for eternity.