Marriages between two people from different faiths have become a common thing in the modern world. Most religious groups do not restrict their members from marrying outside their faith. As a Catholic, a Hindu friend from work or the gym might invite you to their wedding ceremony, and you might wonder if your church allows you to go to a Hindu wedding.
So can a catholic participate in a Hindu wedding? A Catholic is free to participate in a Hindu wedding. When it comes to attendance and taking part in a Hindu wedding, the catholic church does not restrict its members from taking part. Depending on their economic capabilities, a Hindu couple can invite the whole community around them to attend and celebrate their wedding.
When you receive that invitation to attend a Hindu wedding, as a catholic, feel free to join them in celebrating the couple’s special day. Read on to find out more about Catholics participating in Hindu weddings and interfaith marriage between a catholic and a Hindu.
Can A Catholic Participate in A Hindu Wedding?
A Hindu marriage is a spiritual event that looks to celebrate the coming together of two people to start a family. It is also a celebration of merging the groom’s family with that of the bride’s. In a Hindu wedding, invitations are not limited. The couple can invite as many people as possible. You can find even more than one thousand people in a single wedding ceremony.
A Hindu wedding is quite different from a catholic wedding. Hindus participate in several traditions and practices that will be new to a catholic attending a Hindu wedding for the first time. After receiving the invitation to a Hindu wedding and you have decided to attend, there are several things that you should expect. These include the following.
The Dress Code
In a Hindu wedding, the dress code is usually traditional Hindi attire. Women will wear Saris, and men will wear Karta pajamas and Sherwanis. Wearing traditional Hindi clothes is not compulsory. In fact, you can wear anything comfortable for the wedding. If you choose a modern look, let it be modest. It will be appropriate for women to cover their legs and shoulders and for men, a shirt with long sleeves and a long pair of trousers will do just fine.
Bright colored clothing is the best for attending a Hindu wedding. However, avoid wearing only white outfits because white is mostly worn during funerals. The color black is associated with bad luck, so you will have to avoid black clothes. Women should also avoid wearing outfits with red colors because the bride will be wearing red clothes.
Length of The Wedding
Catholics are used to attending weddings that last only a few hours. A Hindu wedding can last more than three days. Each day of the wedding will cover a different event; hence, you need to know which days you will attend. The Ganesh Pooja happens on the first day, and it is an event for the family members of the bride and groom only. The main ceremony takes place on the final day of the wedding, so you will check the wedding program to know which days you will attend.
At other weddings, guests usually bring gifts with them and give them to the couple during the wedding reception. At a Hindu wedding, you do not bring a wedding gift with you. If you have a wedding gift, you can send it directly to the couple’s home unless it is in monetary form. You can place the money in an envelope and give it to the couple during the wedding reception.
Food is an important part of a Hindu wedding. The hosts will serve lots of different Indian cuisine at different times of the day. In day time events, the guests will be served Indian vegetarian food. The meat will not be served during the day, but it will be included in the night’s meal. Attending a Hindu wedding is the best time to sample lots of Indian foods. Alcoholic drinks are not served at a Hindu wedding.
Interfaith Marriage Between a Catholic and A Hindu
A Catholic can marry a person from any other religion; however, there are certain conditions that one must fulfill before a priest or deacon can officiate the marriage. Marriage is one of the seven sacraments of the catholic church; only baptized Catholics can receive sacraments. Hence for a catholic to consider marriage as valid, both the bride and groom need to be baptized in the catholic church.
If the bride and groom are from the Hindu religion, the catholic spouse needs to get a dispensation before they can proceed with the wedding. A dispensation is where the bishop permits a catholic to marry a non-Catholic. A dispensation is a way of releasing the catholic church from the legal obligation to marry a baptized catholic person. After getting the dispensation from your bishop, you will free to arrange a catholic wedding.
In the past, one of the conditions that the catholic church placed on interfaith marriage was that the children from that marriage had to be raised in the catholic faith. The rules have now changed, and the catholic spouse only has to promise that they will try their best to ensure that the children from the interfaith marriage are raised in the catholic faith.
It is forbidden for the couple to have a second religious wedding ceremony in a different religion. The catholic wedding should be the final ceremony for the marriage to be considered valid. Hence, you cannot have a Hindu wedding after having a catholic wedding as this will make your marriage invalid before the catholic church. Before the bishops give you dispensation, you will have to convince him that you will not hold any other religious weddings after the catholic wedding.
A priest or deacon will also decline to officiate a wedding if the non-Catholic spouse is a divorcee. It is difficult for the catholic church to allow a Catholic to marry a non-Catholic who has been divorced. The priest or deacon will accept to officiate the wedding if there is an annulment of the previous marriage and the catholic spouse has the church leaders’ approval.
It is also forbidden to have two different religious leaders officiating the wedding at the same time. Some couples would want both their religious leaders to perform at their wedding, but it will be challenging to convince a priest or deacon to do that.
However, you can obtain a dispensation from your bishop to have a different religious clergy to officiate your wedding. You can have a Hindu priest officiate your wedding and have it recognized by the catholic church but with your bishop’s approval.
A catholic is free to participate in weddings held by different religions. It is one fun way of experiencing other religions’ traditions and practices. The Hindu will invite everyone around them to most of their religious ceremonies. If you are invited to a Hindu wedding, drop by and celebrate the couple’s special day. Your attendance will make them feel part of the community.
Over the years, the catholic church has relaxed most of its rules on interfaith marriages. A catholic is free to seek and marry a partner from a different religion. As long as you obtain a dispensation from your bishop and follow all the rules laid out by the church on interfaith marriages, your marriage will be considered valid.