i went to someone's place today, to be a part of some ceremony where they needed married women and one 'kanya'...which i qualified for. the purpose of that was to wish everyone a happy married life...or something to that effect. it wasnt a big ceremony, basically they washed our feet and served us nice food and then gave us a small token and said tata. apparently, they couldnt find an unmarried girl for a long time and i came as godsent. so all the aunties thanked me profusely, much to my embarrassment.
i couldnt figure out why i had gone there, or why it was all happening. and i found it particularly interesting to note one of the aunties who was the resident 'principal' as everyone was calling her- she was guiding people what to do, how to do, what not to do, which side to stand, who is to do what, etc etc.
the thing about these ceremonies is, we dont know their significance half the time. we dont know why we're supposed to be doing this or that. me and dad were discussing today that many ceremonies/rituals were made for a specific reason, most of which is obsolete today. like we have this ritual in tamil brahmin marriages where after the 'marriage' part, the bride and groom play with coconuts and break 'papads' and things...it was made for child marriages to engage the children, but now of course, 25/30 yr olds play those games. similarly there is this one ritual where the bride and groom sit on a 'jhoola' for some time.
my dad was telling me today why there is a difference in the death rituals of hindus and muslims...i mean one of the reasons why. islam was founded in the arab world, where its all desert and sand, and no wood...so they buried their people. while india had lots of trees and thus lots of wood and thats why they burnt the dead. interesting explanation no?!
i attended a wedding once, where the pandit actually explained the significance of every single ritual and small thing...it was so fascinating...and made the whole ceremony so meaningful. but people like that pandit are far and few; most people dont know the significance of the things they make people do, and if they do, they lack the time/patience/skill/intention to spread the knowledge.
its kind of sad if you think about it, i mean we're part of such a rich culture, full of rituals and ceremonies which have deep significance and tremendous meaning. which were made for a reason. and we dont know most of it. we follow them blindly, without realizing their deeper significance and why we're following them.
guess thats that.