Picking a date with the stars

Think picking a wedding date is tricky? Between availability, weekend holidays and favorite seasons, some couples are booking two years in advance.

Now imagine waiting for the approval of the universe. That is exactly what some Hindu couples do thanks to an age-old tradition of astrologically.

Astrology in Hinduism is not like the zodiac symbols people are familiar with here in the United States. In India and anywhere Hinduism is practiced, astrology is looked at as a science with very specific calculations. It is extremely complicated and not something that can be explained quickly. Those who study this astrology take years to understand every aspect.

"Yeah, I literally have no idea how it works. I'm not sure my parents even do, but I'm pretty sure my grandparents and the astrologer do. At least I hope so," said Anjali Das, who grew up in Darien and Norwalk, about the selection of her wedding date. "My fiance and I would basically come up with a few dates that were convenient and then my grandparents and the astrologer would shoot them down as inauspicious dates. Pretty much half of 2012 was out of the question so we pushed it to spring of 2013, where we miraculously found a date that worked. It was a headache but it was important to our families so we decided to give in."

The ancient practices of this astrology dates back to the Vedic period in India, thousands of years ago, a time when the oldest Hindu scriptures were written.

In order to select a wedding date, the astrologer must look at how the stars align for both the bride and groom. Once that is examined, they need to find an overlapping time that is deemed auspicious for the date. In some cases, a look at both the man and woman's astrological backgrounds can even break up a union if the astrologer deems it incompatible.

"Yeah, that can happen to those who really follow it traditionally," Raj Patel, of Stamford, said. "I haven't met too many Hindus who really match up based on the stars anymore. A lot of them do try to appease their parents by selecting a date based on the stars. In this day and age, following the Hindu calendar that closely really doesn't make much sense. If I was to do that, an astrologer might tell me I can't go outside for two weeks. How do you think I'm supposed to explain that to my boss?"

The very basics of what Vedic astrologers follow begin with the sun, moon and five planets. The five planets are Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus and Saturn. Each planet represents something different in your life. Additionally, they look at 12 different signs of the zodiac, and 27 fixed stars and constellations. How all of these stars and planets interact and line up over the course of your life and on significant days play a part in telling your story.

"It can be really exciting if you follow it," Patel said. "It's just not for me. But it certainly is very complex. I do not necessarily believe in all of it, but I have to admit that they do spend a lot of time trying to calculate and figure things out. It is not something they just pull out of a hat."

pjha@bcnnew.com; 203-972-4413; www.twitter.com/pjhancnews

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