The Marriage Ceremony
The ceremony down the ages did not alter substantially in content. The couple was seated in a pavilion, separated by a curtain. To the accompaniment of sacred verses muttered by an officiating Brahman, the curtain was removed and the couple saw one another, perhaps for the first time. The bride's father stepped forward and formally gave her to the groom, who promised he would not behave falsely to her in respect of the three traditional aims of life — piety, wealth, and pleasure. Next, offerings of ghee and rice were made to the sacred fire. The groom then grasped the bride's hand while she offered grain in the fire, around which he then led her with their garments tied together. The couple would then take seven steps together, the bride treading on a small heap of rice at each step. The couple was then sprinkled with holy water, completing the main part of the ceremony.
Brahmanical initiation, which marked the admission of a young boy to the prerogatives of his social class, appeared during the period between the sixth and the third centuries
The initiation is the consecration in accordance with the sacred texts of the Veda. When the male desires and knows the Vedas, he is ready for this rite. The person who performs this rite should belong to a family in which sacred learning is hereditary, and he himself should be well qualified. He should have studied under a teacher who did not fall off from the ordinance of the law.
Let this man initiate a Brahman in spring, a Kstriya in summer, a Vaisya in autumn, a Brahman in the eighth year after conception, a Ksatriya in the eleventh year, after conception, and a Vaisya in the twelfth.
There is no dereliction of duty if the initiation takes place in the case of a Brahman before the completion of the sixteenth year, in the case of a Ksatriya before the completion of the twenty-second year, in the case of a Vaisya before the completion of the twenty-fourth year. Let him be initiated at such an age that he may be able to perform the duties, which we shall declare now.
If the proper time for the initiation has passed, he shall observe for the space of two months the duties of a student, as observed by those who are studying the three Vedas. After that he may be initiated; after that he shall bathe daily for one year; after that he may be instructed. He whose father and grandfather have not been initiated and his two ancestors are called “slayers of the Brahman.” Intercourse, eating, and intermarriage with them should be avoided
If they wish it, they may perform the following expiation: in the same manner as for the first neglect of the initiation, a penance of two months was prescribed, so that they shall do penance for one year. Afterwards they may be initiated, and then they must bathe daily.
— Dharma-Sutras, Apastamba