Kanyadanam is a Hindu ritual where the father of gives away his daughter in marriage to the groom. Kanyadaan literally means ‘gifting a girl’. It is considered a duty of a father to give away his daughter to the groom as a gift as part of his duty as a parent. Vedic mantras are chanted to ensure that the bond between the couple remains strong and the parents feel proud of accomplishing their duty righteously.
The bride’s right hand is placed on the groom’s hand along with betel leaves, betel nut, flowers, fruits, conch and gold. The bride’s mother pours water on the palms of the bride which flows down to the palms of the groom. The groom has to touch the right shoulder of the bride. The Vedic hymns are chanted by the priest to sanctify the marriage.
This ritual signifies that the responsibility of the parents towards the bride is washed away and the the bride now belongs only to her husband. The father makes the groom promise that he would fulfill the three basic needs of his daughter throughout his life. These three needs are: Dharma, Artha and Kama. Touching of the bride’s shoulder by the groom signifies that the groom accepts his responsibility towards the bride as her husband. He has to take care and protect his wife for the rest of her life just like the way her parents did.