A Hindu wedding ceremony is a true testimony of myriad rituals and customs. Each ritual has its own significance that adds to the beauty of the whole ceremony. If there is one particular ritual that stands out, it ought to be saptapadi. Each community, caste and region has their own variant, but the ritual of saptapadi has a special significance in Hindu weddings. Bigindianwedding.com elucidates it all.

What is saptapadi?
Saptapadi refers to the seven steps that a bride and groom take in front of the holy fire that truly solemnizes the Hindu wedding. Most often, it is confused with the saat pheres that the couple takes around the fire. Saptapadi is the rite wherein the couple takes seven steps together, at a slow and measured pace, in the northeastern direction. While moving ahead, the bride is always on the right side. With each step, the bride and groom take a pledge together.

The seven steps and their significance
First step: The groom pledges to support and provide for his wife and their future children. He seeks support from his wife at every step. The bride humbly submits to her husband and seeks the responsibility of their home, food and finances, and vows to fulfill all the responsibilities of the family.

Second step: The groom takes the second step with the promise of protecting his household and children, seeking his wife’s support in the same. The bride promises to fill her husband’s heart with joy in his grief, to rejoice in his happiness and to please him always. Also, she seeks assurance from her husband that he’ll love her and her alone.

Third step: The groom pledges to grow their wealth and prosperity. He also promises to look at all other women as his sisters. He further promises to educate their children and give them a fulfilling life. In the third step, the bride promises to remain chaste and devoted to only her husband, treating all other men as her brothers.

Fourth step: The groom graciously praises his bride. He prays for noble, obedient children and prays for their long life. The bride pledges to serve her husband and please him in every way she can. She promises to beautify herself and adorn herself with flowers, sandalwood and ornaments.

Fifth step: The groom is delighted that his life is enriched with the presence of his wife. He asks god’s blessings upon her and their life-long prosperity. The bride pledges to share all her husband’s joys and sorrows. She promises to carry out all his wishes and trust and honour him.

Sixth step: The groom prays for a prosperous future with his wife, seeking joy and peace at all times and seasons. The bride in turn, promises to be a willing partner to all their future endeavours and promises to be at her husband’s side.

Seventh step: In the final step, the groom pledges for an eternal friendship with his wife. He submits his entire life to her and promises a lifelong bond. The bride promises to be true to each other and reiterates that their love will last a lifetime.