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Hinduism & Marriage

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Hinduism & Marriage. How did The Simpsons episode portray arranged marriage? In your group, write down at least 3 aspects. What do you think you know about arranged marriage? What are YOUR perceptions of it? Write down at least 3 comments. Common Western perceptions vs. Hindu perceptions .

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How did The Simpsons episode portray arranged marriage?

In your group, write down at least 3 aspects.


What do you think you know about arranged marriage?

What are YOUR perceptions of it?

Write down at least 3 comments.

common western perceptions vs hindu perceptions
Common Western perceptions vs. Hindu perceptions


  • Dharma is an important term. In Hinduism it means \'duty\', \'virtue\', \'morality\', even \'religion\' and it refers to the power which upholds the universe and society.
  • Hindus generally believe that dharma was revealed in the Vedas. Dharma is the power that maintains society, it makes the grass grow, the sun shine, and makes us moral people or rather gives humans the opportunity to act virtuously.
  • But acting virtuously does not mean precisely the same for everyone; different people have different obligations and duties according to their age, gender, and social position.
  • Dharma is universal but it is also particular and operates within concrete circumstances. Each person therefore has their own dharma known as sva-dharma. What is correct for a woman might not be for a man or what is correct for an adult might not be for a child.
marriage vivaha in hinduism
Marriage (Vivaha) in Hinduism
  • The most important of all Hindu life cycle rituals
  • The Laws of Manu (sacred scripture) state that:

Marriage is regarded as a sacrifice.

A person who does not marry is someone without sacrifice: a man is half a man, the other half is his wife


Hindus think it is their duty to marry

  • Marriage is important so that there can be children to carry on the family (sexual relationships outside of marriage are strongly disapproved of)
  • Hindu marriages are usually ‘arranged:’

Parents & older relatives choose or suggest a suitable partner

why arrange marriages
Why arrange marriages?
  • Marriage is seen as joining two families, so it is important that the decision is not just left to individuals, who might make the wrong choice
  • Parents choose someone with a similar background and education
  • Parents take the advice of a priest and/or use the couple’s horoscopes to make sure that they are well-matched

If they have things in common, they are likely to get on.

  • Love will come later


Discuss the differences between this system and the way non-Hindus look for prospective husbands or wives. What are the pros and cons of each approach?

past present tradition modern
Past & Present, Tradition & Modern
  • In the past, couples did not meet until the wedding day
  • Now things aren’t as strict, and the young person may suggest a possible partner, or may have met the chosen partner a few times before the wedding

Listen to description of the Hindu bride:

Match the meanings from the lists:

List A List B

Patterns on hands promises will never change

Pole star starting a new life

What is a sari? What is henna?

7 steps around the sacred fire
7 Steps around the Sacred Fire
  • Bride & groom take 7 steps around the sacred fire (reminds them that God is with them)
  • As they take these steps, they are tied together with a scarf
  • After the last step, they are husband & wife
  • 7 steps are for the hopes they have for married life:

1. food

2. energy

3. wealth

4. happiness

5. children

6. seasons (long life)

7. friendship

Write out the 7 steps on 7 pieces of paper. Talk about them with your partner, then arrange them in order: most important first.


To complete the wedding ceremony, rice is thrown over them to wish them many children.

How has the West adopted this practice?


Write 2 things you learned from today’s lesson.

Write 1 question you still have.