Significance of Saptapadi or Saat pheras

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Hindu wedding is not a contract but a holy union of husband and wife who pledge to devote all that they have for each other and their family. Each and every ritual has its own significance and one of the most important rituals is the saat pheras or seven rounds or saptapadi. It’s only at the end of the saat pheras, the bride and the groom are declared as husband and wife.

While the priest chants the holy mantras, the bride and the groom move around the holy fire or agni. With each round or phera, the bride and the groom make a significant promise to each other for the rest of their lives. At the end of each phera, the bride and the groom step on a rock and and pray to God to make their love as firm as a rock. The ritual of at the end of each phera is called shilarohan or climbing a rock.

Image source Clicksunlimited Photography

The Seven Rounds

  1. In the first round, the bride and the groom pray to the almighty to provide them with plenty of nourishment and pure food.
  2. For the second round, they pray for physical and spiritual strength so that they may be able to enjoy their life together.
  3. In the third round, they promise to earn their livelihood by by fair and honest means in order to give comfort to their family. They also promise to be loyal to each other.
  4. For the fourth phera, they promise to take care of each other and their parents and elders.
  5. During the fifth phera, they pray to the almighty to bless them with kind and courageous children. They promise to be responsible parents and help their children in becoming good human beings.
  6. In the sixth phera, they pay to God for good health and disease free life not only for themselves but also for their families.
  7. For the seventh and the last round, they pray for lifelong companionship and they promise to be  faithful towards each other. They also promise to lead their life on the basis of love and mutual trust.

Having exchanged these seven vows, the bride and the groom become husband and wife for the rest of their lives. This signifies the completion of the formal wedding ceremony. At the end of the saat pheras, the newly married couple bend together to touch the feet of their elders who in turn bless them to lead a long and a prosperous life together.

Main image Aniket Kanade Photography

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