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Significance of Nischitaartham

The wedding ceremony is the most celebrated social event in Indic societies . The concept of marriage as a major event in a human life, can be traced back to Vedic times. Mostly Hindu marriage ceremonies are elaborate ones and they may last for a few days especially among those who are wealthy enough to afford the same. Although the main wedding ceremony is a one-day affair, there are different ceremonies that are held on separate days preceding the main wedding ceremony. According to Hindu religion out of sixteen ceremonies in a person's lifetime, marriage is considered to be the thirteenth one. In most Indic societies where arranged marriages are not uncommon, the decisions regarding the conduct of the marriage are made jointly.

Once they decide, the date of the engagement and marriage is fixed. There are various pre wedding functions and rituals one of which is the engagement ceremony , and which is the most important since it marks the beginning of the wedding ceremony. In this day and age, especially among the Diaspora when an extended courtship appears to be the norm rather than the exception,  it is not uncommon for an engagement ceremony to be held months before the wedding  is conducted. It is known by different names in different regions of the country such as Misri, ring ceremony, aashirwad, Vaagdaanam or Vaakdaana , Nischitaartha and mangni.

Nischitaartha means the process of making a decision and a commitment to each other, and is generally the term used in the Southern part of India. The term literally means "firming up". The ceremony is based on vedic practices going back over 5000 years begins with a Ganapati  Puja and consists mainly of pledges between the 2 fathers. This is done by invoking the lineage of the families and making a formal proposal for the alliance. Variations notwithstanding, the general practice is for the father of the bride to make the initial overture. The affirmative response by the parents of the groom, signifies the resulting commitment to the marriage

In the Western tradition, an engagement consisting mainly of a proposal by the prospective groom  to the intended bride to marry him is generally made in private and is accompanied by the gift of a ring to the lady. an engagement party may then take place depending on the interval between the engagement and the marriage itself . Americans of Indic origin practice a blended mixture of the 2 traditions.



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