An Ancient Ritual in the Modern World

August 20, 2000

Source: The Houston Chronicle

On August 20, 2000, The Houston Chronicle reported that "Nirav Mulani trotted down a different road on his wedding day than the dirt path his grandfather traveled through a rural Indian village to meet his own bride. Though distanced by thousands of miles, the two Hindu marriage ceremonies tapped on traditions dating back thousands of years. 'The groom rides a horse down the street with his entire family walking behind him to tell the whole world that now there is only one girl in his life,' Champa Patel, a family friend. 'This is how the groom has always approached the wedding - in the open with all the world to see.' A day before the wedding, surrounded by crying babies and singing family members, Mulani and his bride-to-be, Bhavisha Koradia, each began a private service. The ceremony, held in the homes of their parents, invites various gods to the wedding and asks for blessings. Both presented an offering of a coconut to the gods to request best wishes for the years to come. In the Hindu religion, a coconut is considered a holy fruit symbolizing sacrifice. In a marriage ceremony, the fruit represents the sacrifice needed in a relationship. It is a reminder that beneath the hard times in life, like the hard shell of a coconut, one's heart must remain sweet and soft like the flesh of the coconut. 'What is beautiful about the Hindu religion,' said Patel, 'is all the symbolism that gives meaning to the smallest gestures in a religious ceremony.' The new couple both say they were fortunate to learn some intricate customs of their culture, customs that came long before the cars and telephone poles that lined the busy Dallas street used by Mulani on the journey to meet his bride."