The Kanyadaan ritual happens on the day of the wedding. It is the most emotional and highly valued one as it unifies the couple into one. The word Kanyadaan means that the precious unmarried daughter of the family handed over to the groom. The word ‘Kanya’ means unmarried virgin girl, ‘Daanam’ means giving away (donating), hence the name.
The Significance of Kanyadaan Ritual In Tamil Iyengar Weddings
During a wedding, the groom is considered to be an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, and the bride is viewed as Goddess Lakshmi. By giving away their daughter as a gift, the parents' sins are washed away, and they are forgiven for their sins committed during this birth.
How is it Done?
In this important Iyengar wedding ceremony, the bride is made to sit on her father’s lap. The father places the right hand of the bride on the right hand of the groom. A ring made out of Dharba or Kusa grass (Dharba grass is also known as Panic grass and is part of the genus borage species) is placed on the bride’s head. Kusa grass has the ability to absorb sixty percent of any negative radiation and is hence considered a purifying object. A yoke is placed on top of it and at the eye of the yoke, the thirumangalyam or thali is placed. The priest sprinkles rice on the joined hands and the bride's parents pour holy water on top while Vedic mantras are chanted.
Vedic Mantra Chants
The mantras mean - ‘May this gold amplify your wealth, may the water purify your married life and increase your prosperity. Offer yourself wholeheartedly to your husband’. The ritual also signifies the groom promising to be loyal and love the bride for lifetime.
Significance of the Yoke
The yoke used in kanyadaan symbolises the yoke that was used in ancient days to “connect to a set of two bulls that were used to till the fields". The ritual signifies that just as both the bulls have to work in harmony to complete the farm work, the success of a wedding lies in the hands of the husband and wife.
A Battle of Emotions
A daughter is considered to be very prosperous and handing her over to her husband is one of the highest forms of donation possible. This is one reason why Kanyadaan is one of the most emotional rituals at a wedding and without doubt, invokes the innermost feelings for both parents and the daughter as she is officially handed over to the groom. It is during Kanyadaan that you will see a few tears, mostly the bride and her parents or closest family, as it is the time when emotions take over ceremonial fun.