The rites and rituals performed in a Hindu marriage ceremony may vary in some aspects between different Hindu communities. However, the basic essential remains the same in spite of diversity in languages and regional practices.
Both the bride and the bride groom needs to experience the Mangal Snan ceremony on the wedding day. The word Mangal signifies auspicious and snan means bath. In this custom, turmeric and sandalwood paste are applied on their faces and bodies. Turmeric provides medicinal advantages and sandalwood keeps the body cool for the day. This bath helps them look attractive. Now-a-days, this custom are being replaced by the beauty parlors though. Still, Hindu communities follow this ceremony gracefully.
Brides use mehndi, or henna paste to decorate their hands and feet. Almost all ladies in the family apply henna. This is an informal ceremony with lots of singing and dancing.
The maternal uncle gifts the bride with a set of bangles in some Hindu communities on the day of the wedding. In the past days, these bangles were made of ivory, but ivory has been almost replaced by plastics. The bangles are considered and accepted as the blessings of the maternal families. The bride is supposed to wear these for several months after the wedding. The old bangles collected from the brides, are distributed among her unmarried friends. There is a belief of early marriage by wearing these bangles.
The brides are gifted with gifts from their maternal uncles, maternal grandfathers, parents and family members. It is known as the Bhath ceremony in many communities. This custom has been performed from the ancient time, when women were supposed to be dependent on their in laws for the rest of their lives after marriage. They had no rights on their parental properties and wealth then.
In recent time, laws are imposed by the government to provide equal rights to both sons and daughters of a family. Whatsoever, the marital ceremonies follow the traditions as ever.