Why is there a formal engagement ceremony in Hinduism?

In every culture and religion, a prospective wedding is always a big deal. It’s a time to celebrate the engaged couple and introduce family members to each other, perhaps for the first time. Hindu engagement ceremonies are no different.

Depending on which Hindu community you are from, the engagement ceremony is known as mangni, aashirwad, or misri. Usually it is held in a banquet hall or the prospective bride’s residence. Both families exchange gifts and good wishes. Formal introductions are a central component. The bride and groom meet each other’s families, and often each other, for the first time. The ceremony culminates with the bride and groom exchanging rings. Sometimes a Hindu priest is invited to recited mantras of blessing…and then the feast begins!

Rev. Leo A. Walsh, S.T.D.

Rev. Leo A. Walsh, S.T.D.

The Rev. Leo A. Walsh, S.T.D., formerly the Interreligious Affairs specialist at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, is now pastor of St. Benedict's Parish in Anchorage, Alaska. Photo Credit: Bob Roller, Catholic News Service (CNS).