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The Hindu marriage ceremony dates back to the Vedic period estimated to be 3000 to 5000 years BC. Most of the key rituals appear in Rigveda, which describe the marriage ceremony of Surya and Ashwinikumar. In Hindu culture, marriage is one of the most important sanskaras or rites of passage that a Hindu observes during his or her lifetime. Briefly stated, the marriage Sanskar is the transition from the first stage of life, devoted to education and learning, to the second stage of life, devoted to building a household and raising children. The married couple pursues Dharma, the righteous duty, Artha, the acquisition of wealth and Kama, the enjoyment of natural desires. They lead a productive life of work, service and enjoyment, fulfilling various duties and obligations towards themselves, their families and society at large.
Thousands of families have settled in USA, especially starting in nineteen sixties. Over the last 15 years, the second-generation young people, born and raised in America, are getting married in increasing numbers. They have strong ties with Hindu Culture and Hindu way of life, either through bring up at home, or with their participation in local cultural activities, or through their friends and yes, even through Bollywood movies. Many of them have chosen their soul mates, not only outside their own caste, religion and language but also from USA, England and other countries. But all of them do feel that they should avail themselves of the rich and noble heritage of Hindu way of married life as they decide to get married.
Although the basic marriage ceremony is same across the breadth and width of India, every ceremony is different and needs to be custom tailored because of specific regional, local and even family traditions. For the marriage ceremonies in the States, we need to blend the best of eastern traditions and western logistics in such a way the overall ceremony is very meaningful, not only to the bride and the groom but to the families on both sides and the invited guests. The ceremonies must address the social, religious and legal aspects of the marriage, which tend to be different than those observed in India.