Nepali weddings are traditional Hindu marital celebrations full of elaborate rituals, colorful costumes, and joyful festivities. These sacred ceremonies, which can last for days, join two individuals, two families, and communities in matrimony according to ancient cultural traditions.

A traditional Nepali wedding highlights key rituals that carry deep meaning for the bride, the groom, and their loved ones.

Weeklong Swasthani Puja

In the weeks leading up to the Nepali wedding, the bride and groom take part in the extensive Swasthani Puja rituals. This pre-wedding tradition sees the engaged couple praying before idols of gods like Shiva and Parvati. They recite holy scriptures and make offerings while seeking blessings.

The bride and groom also honor their ancestors and ask for their favor and protection. This weeklong puja purification ceremony creates sacredness and readiness for the upcoming marital union.

Formal Sagun Ceremony

Another meaningful pre-wedding event is the Sagun ceremony during which the groom’s family visits the bride’s home. This formal occasion is when the groom’s side proposes with great fanfare.

The groom’s family brings gifts of supari betel nuts, fruits, and tika along with other sagun tokens like rings. The bride’s parents bless the union by offering the groom’s kin food and clothes. Verbal agreements are made joining the two sides.

Sealing Pani Bihaune Engagement

Finally, the bride and groom come together for the Pani Bihaune engagement ritual. Their families gather to exchange ceremonial offerings of water and rice as a symbol of uniting the two lives. This event formally solidifies the upcoming nuptials.

Varmala Garlands Exchange

On the main wedding day, the groom arrives at the venue on a horse or elephant in a boisterous Baraat procession. The elaborately dressed bride and groom then meet at the sacred mandap altar for the ceremony.

The couple begins by exchanging varmala floral garlands in the Jayae/Milni ritual. This joyous first meeting kickstarts their sacred marital journey.

Kanyadaan Giving Away of the Bride

A highly emotional ritual is the Kanyadaan during which the bride’s father gives her away to her new husband. He places the couple’s joined hands in a bowl of water, entrusting his daughter to her partner for life.

The bride and groom also take seven sacred vows while taking steps together around the sacred fire to embark on their new path.

Marking the Bride with Sindur

In an important wedding ritual, the groom parts the bride’s hair and places sindur vermillion powder on her head. This symbolizes her married status as she is marked as a wife.

Exchange of Floral Bracelets

The bride and groom further solemnize their union by tying mangal phool bracelets made of flowers around each other’s wrists. This ritual signifies their eternal bond and commitment to marriage.

Blessings for the New Journey

At the wedding reception, the bride completes Bhai Tika by honoring her new siblings-in-law. She places auspicious tika forehead markings on them and offers blessings.

The groom also thanks the bride’s parents through the Dakshina gift-giving ritual. He acknowledges their role in raising their daughter by giving them money or thoughtful gifts.

Finally, the bride tearfully bids farewell to her childhood home in Bashuki. She is now ready to embark on her new journey as a wife as she leaves for her marital house.

Nepali weddings beautifully blend sacred Hindu marital rites with cultural traditions in joyful celebrations that join two souls for life. The rituals carry deep personal and communal significance for all involved.