I have read so many articles on this topic! does Sanatan Dharma support kanyadaan? Kanya = Maiden Daan = Donation
In ancient India, parents of a girl used to demand dowry unlike now when the opposite is the case. This practice is severely criticized in Hindu scripture.
Condemnation of dowry
A wife should never be purchased. Nor should a father sell his daughter. Only those persons of sinful soul who are possessed, besides, by cupidity, and who sell and purchase female slaves for making serving women, regard the status of wife as capable of arising from the gift and acceptance of a dowry.
Mahabharata Anusasana Parva Section XLIV
Kanyadaan means that the parent of the girl has not demanded a dowry. It does not mean either donation or gifting.
𝐒𝐤𝐚𝐧𝐝𝐚 𝐏𝐮𝐫𝐚𝐧𝐚, 𝐀𝐯𝐚𝐧𝐭𝐢 𝐊𝐡𝐚𝐧𝐝𝐚, 𝐑𝐞𝐯𝐚 𝐊𝐡𝐚𝐧𝐝𝐚, 𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟓𝟎 - 𝐑𝐮𝐥𝐞𝐬 𝐚𝐛𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐄𝐥𝐢𝐠𝐢𝐛𝐢𝐥𝐢𝐭𝐲 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐃ā𝐧𝐚.
कन्यादानं कथं स्वामिन्कर्त्तव्यं धार्मिकः सदा । परिग्रहो यथा पोष्यः कन्योद्वाहस्तथैव च ॥ २७ ॥
Uttānapāda said: O Lord, how is the gift of a virgin(Kanyadana) to be made by righteous persons?
सर्वेषामेव दानानां कन्यादानं विशिष्यते । यो दद्यात्परया भक्त्याऽभिगम्य तनयां निजाम् ॥ ३०॥
कुलीनायसुरूपाय गुणज्ञायमनीषिणे । सुलग्ने सुमुहूर्ते च दद्यात्कन्यामलङ्कृताम् अश्वान्नागांश्च पासांसि योऽत्र दद्यात्स्वशक्तितः। तस्य वासो भवेत्तत्र पदं यत्र निरामयम् ॥ ३२॥
येनाऽत्रदुहितादत्ता प्राणेभ्योऽपि गरीयसी । तेनसर्वमिदंदत्तं त्रैलोक्यंसचराचरम् यः कन्यार्थं ततो लब्ध्वा भिक्षते चैव तद्धनम् । सभवेत्कर्मचण्डालः काष्ठकीलो भवेन्मृतः॥३४॥
गृहेऽपि तस्य योऽश्नीयाजिह्वालोल्यात्कथञ्चन । घान्द्रायणेन शुद्धयत तप्तकृच्छ्रण वा पुनः ॥ ३५ ॥
वित्तं न विद्यते यस्यकन्यैवास्तिथ यद्गृहे । कथंचोद्वाहनंतस्पनयामांकुरुतेयदि दानादिवर्णनेऽन्नदानादिप्रशंसनवर्णनम् || ३६
अवित्तेनैव कर्त्तव्यं कन्योद्वहनकं नृप !। कन्यानाम समुच्चार्य न दोषाय कदाचन। ३७
अभिगम्योत्तमं दानं यच्च दानमयाचितम् । भविष्यति युगस्यान्तस्तस्यान्तो नैव विद्यते ॥ ३८ ॥
Of all Dānas, Kanyā Dāna (gift of a virgin) is the best. A parent should give his daughter after approaching a boy of noble birth, handsome features, learning and discretion. The father should give his well-adorned daughter on an auspicious Lagna and Muhūrta. If he offers horses, elephants and garments in accordance with his capacity, his stay shall be in the region where there is no ailment.
If the daughter dearer than one’s own life is given away, it is as though all the three worlds have been given away along with the mobile and immobile beings. If anyone begs for wealth for the sake of a virgin, he shall be a Karmacāṇḍāla (a Cāṇḍāla in action) and he shall become a woodworm after death. If, out of food-greediness, anyone takes food in his house, he will become pure only by means of the expiation called Cāndrāyaṇa or Taptakṛcchra.
If one has no wealth in one’s house but has a daughter to be given away, how can he celebrate her marriage if he does not beg?
O king, one should celebrate the marriage of a daughter, even if one has no wealth, merely by repeating the name of the virgin. It does not bring about any defect. Without begging if the Dāna is made after approaching (a groom), it is the most excellent Dāna.