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Kanyādān ("gift of a maiden"[1]) is a Hindu wedding ritual.[2][1] and origination of this tradition yet not been established . There are different interpretations regarding kanyādān across India (South Asia).


Kanyadhan is a simplified pronunciation of Kannikadhaanam. 'Kanni' means unmarried girl / virgin. 'Dhaanam' means 'charity' or 'to give away'.

Of all Dhaanams Annadhaanam (provide food) is considered supreme from the perspective of the receiver, as food is needed for survival.

From perspective of the giver (in this case the girl's father), Kannikadhaanam is considered supreme because you give away what you love the most - your own daughter - to another family.


Kanyādān songs[edit]

In communities where kanyādān is performed as part of the actual wedding, the ritual is carried out through a variety of kanyādān songs. These songs may include the parents lamenting the loss of their daughter, as well as regretting their economic sacrifice for the wedding. Other songs focus on the groom, for example comparing him to the "ideal groom", the god Rama, in the epic Ramayana. Importantly, the kanyādān ritual occurs right before the Sindoor ritual (sindurdan).[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b “India.” Encyclopædia Britannica. 2008. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 20 February 2008. <http://ripley.sbc.edu:2080/eb/article-46444>.
  2. ^ Enslin, Elizabeth. “Imagined Sisters: The Ambiguities of Women’s Poetics and Collective Actions.” Selves in Time and Place: Identities, Experience, and History in Nepal. Ed. Debra Skinner, Alfred Pach III, and Dorothy Holland. Lanham; Boulder; New York; Oxford: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 1998 (269-299).
  3. ^ http://periva.proboards.com/thread/12692/kannikadhanam
  4. ^ Henry, Edward O. “Folk Song Genres and Their Melodies in India: Music Use and Genre Process.” Asian Music (Spring-Summer 2000). JSTOR. 20 February 2008.

Further reading[edit]

  • Gutschow, Niels; Michaels, Axel; Bau, Christian (2008). The Girl's Hindu Marriage to the Bel Fruit: Ihi and The Girl's Buddhist Marriage to the Bel Fruit: Ihi in Growing up - Hindu and Buddhist Initiation Ritual among Newar Children in Bhaktapur, Nepal. Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, Germany. ISBN 3-447-05752-1. pp. 93-173.