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Religious aspects of marriage

Religious aspects of marriage

In virtually all religions, marriage is a long-term union between two people and is established with ceremonies and rituals. The two people are most commonly a man and a woman, though many societies have permitted polygamous marriages, and same-sex marriage is now acknowledged in some places.

Many religions have extensive teachings regarding marriage. Most Christian churches give some form of blessing to a marriage; the wedding ceremony typically includes some sort of pledge by the community to support the couple's relationship. In the Roman Catholic Church "Holy Matrimony" is considered to be one of the seven sacraments, in this case one that the spouses bestow upon each other in front of a priest and members of the community as witnesses. An argument for the institution of the sacrament of Matrimony by Christ Jesus himself, and its occasion, is advanced by Bernard Orchard in his article The Betrothal and Marriage of Mary to Joseph. [2] [3] [4] In the Eastern Orthodox church, it is one of the Mysteries, and is seen as an ordination and a martyrdom. In marriage, Christians see a picture of the relationship between Jesus Christ and His Church. In Judaism, marriage is so important that remaining unmarried is deemed unnatural. Islam also recommends marriage highly; among other things, it helps in the pursuit of spiritual perfection. The Bahá'í Faith sees marriage as a foundation of the structure of society, and considers it both a physical and spiritual bond that endures into the afterlife.[6] Hinduism sees marriage as a sacred duty that entails both religious and social obligations. By contrast, Buddhism does not encourage or discourage marriage, although it does teach how one might live a happily married life and emphasizes that married vows are not to be taken slightly (see separate article for details).

Different religions have different beliefs as regards the breakup of marriage. For example, the Roman Catholic Church believes it is morally wrong to divorce, and divorcées cannot remarry in a church marriage, though they can do in the eyes of the law. In the area of nullity, religions and the state often apply different rules, meaning that a couple, for example, could have their marriage annulled by the Catholic Church but still be married in the eyes of the law because the state disagrees with the church over whether an annulment can be granted in a given case. This produces the phenomenon of Catholics getting church annulments simultaneously with civil divorces, so that they may remarry both legally and sacramentally. The Catholic Church will not, in fact, grant an annulment petition unless the marriage has also been dissolved or annulled under civil law.

Detailed viewpoints of various religions

  • Ayyavazhi marriage
  • Bahá'í marriage
  • Buddhist view of marriage
  • Christian view of marriage
  • Latter-day Saint view of marriage
  • Hindu view of marriage
  • Islamic view of marriage
  • Jewish view of marriage
  • handfasting

Religious customs

Hindu customs

Main article: Hindu wedding

North and South Indian wedding ceremonies are conducted at least partially in Sanskrit, the language in which most holy Hindu ceremonies are conducted. The local language of the people involved is also used since most Hindus cannot understand Sanskrit. They may have rituals that differ fom the modern western wedding ceremony and also among the different regions, families, and castes such as Rajput Wedding, Aggarwal Weddings, Iyer Weddings and Tamil Weddings. The ceremonies are colourful and extend for several days.

Jewish customs

Main article: Jewish view of marriage

The traditions used in a Jewish wedding vary based on the denomination of Judaism of the people being married. Some of the most common are listed below.

The bride (kallah) and groom (chatan) sign a Ketubah (marriage contract). Originally, the Ketubah detailed the husband's obligations to his wife, and provided for monetary payment to her in case of divorce. Nowadayst the Ketubah can be a decorative keepsake that sets out expectations for both the bride and groom. In Conservative homes it is typically framed and displayed, while in Orthodox homes it is kept hidden away.

The Jewish ceremony generally starts with the bride and groom being escorted to the huppah (Jewish wedding canopy) by both sets of parents. The ceremony takes place under the huppah, and is presided over by a Rabbi. After the vows, seven marriage blessings are read and the groom then smashes a glass with his foot. The bride and groom spend time together alone before the reception, which is traditionally a joyous celebration with much music and dancing.

There are several activities that may take place during the reception:

  • The wedding breakfast.
  • A dance in which the bride and groom hold opposite corners of a handkerchief while they are lifted up on chairs by the guests and whirled around.
  • The Krenzl, in which the bride's mother is crowned with a wreath of flowers as her daughters dance around her (traditionally at the wedding of the mother's last unwed daughter).
  • The Mizinke, a dance for the parents of the bride or groom when their last child is wed.
  • The gladdening of the bride, in which guests dance around the bride, and can include the use of "shtick" -- silly items such as signs, banners, costumes, confetti, and jump ropes made of table napkins.
  • The singing of Aishet Chayil to the bride by the groom accompanied by his friends.

Quaker customs

Main article: Quaker wedding

A Quaker wedding ceremony in a Friends meeting is similar to any other Meeting for Worship, and therefore often very different from the experience expected by non-Friends.

LDS customs

Main article: Celestial marriage

Within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (also known as Mormons), the act of marriage is regarded as an eternal affair. As such, there are two kinds of marriages recognized by the Church, civil marriage and celestial marriage. Civil marriages are those legally contracted under local law and are dissolved upon the death of the participants, while celestial marriages, also known as sealings, bind the participants as husband and wife for all eternity if both are righteous.

Celestial marriages can only be performed by Priesthood authority within a Sealing Room in a dedicated temple. Only members of the LDS church who have a temple recommend may attend an LDS wedding. The wedding is often referred to as a sealing, in which husband and wife are sealed beyond death into the next life. Space is limited in sealing rooms so only family and close friends attend.

The sealing can be performed at the same approximate time as the civil marriage or for a couple civilly married for at least one year. In the latter case, if the couple already has children, they may also accompany the ceremony to be sealed to their parents. Children who are born to parents who have already been sealed need no such ceremony, as they have been "born in the covenant."

Many LDS couples will then hold wedding receptions or open houses after the wedding ceremony in another venue that is open to all family and friends. Some couples choose to recreate a more traditional wedding ceremony, or will simply perform certain traditional acts, such as the throwing of the bouquet, first dance, etc.

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