The traditional arranged marriage has long been an integral part of the Indian culture. As against love marriage, it is the concept in which the parents and family members search for the prospective bride or the groom, through their acquaintances or advertisements in newspapers and marriage portals. In the earlier times, with everything being fixed by family members, the bride and groom used to be practically clueless about the person they were marrying. Today the arranged marriage system of India has become more flexible.
Taking the consent of the boy and the girl before marriage is important now. They meet each other before marriage, gauge their compatibility & if everything fits, they get engaged. The duration between marriage and engagement may vary from fifteen days to over a year. During this period, a lot of activities take place in the bride's as well as the groom's families. It is also during this time only that meetings, ceremonies and constant contact over the phone help the bride and the groom-to-be to know and understand each other better.
Generally, there are several factors like compatibility of the to-be-couples' horoscopes, family background, wealth, social standing, caste and so on, which are taken into consideration by the parents of both sides under arranged marriages. The institution of marriage is considered very sacred in the Indian subcontinent. So, the parents think that since they are older and thus, wiser, they can take better decisions in comparison to their progeny. Though this system of marriage is on the decline in urban India, it's still strong in the rural regions.
The strict adherence to the Hindu customs is what compels Indians to go through such a lengthy process for fixing up a marriage. Marriage in the Indian society is considered so auspicious that not just the day, but also the time of the marriage is fixed as per the astrological charts of both the bride and the groom. In Hindus, the marriage ceremony takes place during the night and stretches over approximately five-six hours. A priest is summoned to preside over the marriage, which is attended by the all the family members, relatives and friends.
There is a lot of festivity and merry making before and after the marriage is fixed. Elaborate trousseau, jewellery and gift shopping is done by the families of both the bride and the groom. The wedding is performed as per the rules stipulated by the Vedic rites and rituals. The groom pledges to fulfill the bride's smallest of small desires, to the best of his ability. Both of them promise to be faithful to each other. She, in turn, is to treat him as her lord and master, her guide and advisor and be with him, through good and bad, for the rest of her life.