The Hindu wedding culminates with the pheras (literally translated as circles or rounds) around the sacred wedding fire. The completion of the pheras is an announcement of the wedding being solemnized and the couple now being man and wife.
The pheras assume different proportions within each community just as most wedding rituals do in India due to the diverseness of language and culture. While the Gujratis and Sindhis in Western India complete 4 pheras, most of the other Indian communities do seven. Before the commencement of the pheras, the bride sits on the right hand side of the groom. On completion of the pheras she then sits on his left. This symbolizes that they are man and wife and that she is close to his heart. In Indian mythology the goddess always sits to the left of the God, be it Shiv and Parvathi or then Ram and Sita. During the pheras the bride and groom are linked together by a dupatta or then a piece of cloth.
Talking of the several variations of the Pheras, during the Arya Samaj wedding the groom leads during the first 4 pheras and the bride then assumes the front role for the balance three. It is believed that the wife will be the creator of the couples’s destiny. In a Sindhi wedding there are only 4 pheras with the husband walking ahead in the first 3 rounds and then the bride in the last round. There are no weddings with less than 4 pheras. The pheras portray the 4 stages of married life – dharma, artha, kama and moksha.
After the pheras the couple seeks the elders blessing before the vidaai happens.
The pheras signify seven pledges which are enumerated below:
1. Groom – You will prepare food, look after the house and be of assistance to me. I will love and look after you and our children. Bride – I will look after the home and its responsibilities and do my best towards you and our children.
2. Groom – You and I will together protect our house and children – Bride – I will support you all through and my happiness is in your well being. You will love me and no one else.
3. Groom – We will look after our children who will live long. Bride – I will only love you and no other.
4. Groom – I will respect you a sacred symbol treat you like my second half. Bride – I will give you happiness and give you pleasure and satisfaction always.
5. Groom – You are my best friend and will always think in my interest. Bride – I will be happy in your happiness and sad in your sadness. I will perform all duties and make sure all your wishes come true.
6. Groom – May you have joy, peace and luck – Bride – I will always be by your side.
7. Groom – we are now united as husband and wife, we are each others for always Bride – I am yours forever and pledge this in front of god now.