Bengali Wedding Ritual Culture
Dear Readers, my sincere apology that I can’t able to post since last 20 days- my sister marriage ceremony just over.
Hence wish to share you the story of Bengali Hindu Wedding ceremony.
In last 20 days I have observed how the ceremony leads reunion of family members and old friends. New relations are made and old ones get further strengthened. In this way, a marriage signifies the beginning of a new journey not just for the couple but for the entire family.
Let me walk you through some of the common rituals and traditional ceremonies we see in Bengali weddings.
- Patri-Patro: An auspicious day is chosen when the families of the bride ( Patro) and groom ( Patri) come together to finalize a date for the marriage.
- Ashirbaad:The parents and some close relatives of the bride visit the groom’s house to bless the groom and present him with gifts of gold ornaments. Usually, husked rice and trefoil are sprinkled on the bride’s head and bless the groom and the bride. A similar ceremony is held at the bride’s place.
- Ai Buro Bhaat: This refers to the last meal that the would-be bride consumes in her own house before getting married. Its kind of a mini-feast where all the realtives and friends join in the celebrations and wish her all the best. Ai Buddo Bhaat consists of typical Bengali fare like fish, rice, luchis (puri), vegetables and sweets such as sandesh, rasgullas etc. This ritual takes place in the home of the groom also.
- Nandi Mukh:This is a ritual which is performed on the morning of the wedding just before the ‘gaye holud’ ceremony of the bride or the groom. It is performed in the homes of both parties. A priest chants Vedic incantations and the extended family pays homage to their forefathers. A small puja is performed for the well being of the ancestors in the afterlife and also to ask for their blessings.
- Gaye Holud: A ceremony in which, the groom’s family visit the bride’s house to present her with the jewelry, other gifts and a pot of turmeric paste to be applied on the entire body of the bride. A similar ceremony is carried out at the groom’s house by the bride’s family.
- Dodhi Mongol: On the morning of the wedding day, the bride and the groom take a bath with water provided by married females of the family. The bride is also made to adorn traditional red and white bangles and fed curd and rice by seven married women of her family.
Wait friends this is not end just beginning..let’s see what happened next.
MAIN WEDDING RITUALS
- Bor Jatri – The members of the groom’s house as well as his friends dress in their best attire and journey to the bride’s house where the wedding takes place.
- Bor Boron – When the bor jatri reaches the bride’s place, usually the mother of the bride along with other members come out to welcome the groom and his family by showing the holy earthen lamp, sprinkling trefoil, and husked rice placed on a bamboo winnow (kula).Then they are served sweets and drinks.
- Potto Bastra – After the groom is seated at the chadnatolla (wedding altar and canopy) – the sanctum sanctorum where only the groom, bride and the priest takes their place, the groom is offered new clothes by the person who is to do the sampradaan – a kind of gift to the boy from the girl’s side.
- Saat Paak – The bride, usually seated on a low wooden stool called pidi is lifted by her brothers and is taken round the groom in seven complete circles. The significance is they are winded up securely to each other.
- Mala Badal and Subho Distri – After the circles are completed, still sitting high on the piri, the bride and the groom exchange garlands of fragrant flowers thrice. This is the first step in which they accept each other. Bride and the groom are made to look at each other in front of all the assembled invitees. This exchange of loving glance is to initiate them to be together officially by the society.
- Sampradan – The bride then takes her place at the chadnatolla where an elderly male member of the bride’s family hands her over to the groom and the couple’s hands are bound by the sacred thread amidst recital of Vedic chants and are placed on the mangal ghot – a brass pitcher filled with water that is covered with mango leaves attached to one twig and a green coconut placed on it.
- Yagna – The bride and groom sit in front of the sacred fire and mantras after the priest. Agni, the fire god is made the divine witness to the marriage.
- Anjali – An offering to the fire is made. The bride’s brother puts puffed rice (khoi) in the hands of the bride, and the groom standing close to her holds her hands from the back and extends their arms forward. They then pour the offering into the fire together.
- Sindoor Daan and Ghomta – Once again seated at their respective places in chadnatolla the groom applies sindoor or vermilion (a symbol of marriage worn by Hindu women thereafter) on the bride’s hair-parting. The bride then covers her head with a new sari offered by the groom as ghomta or veil.
Here is not the end ..!!
Bidaay – This is a farewell – mixed moment of joy and sorrow as the bride is bid adieu with blessings of her parents and relatives to start a new life with her beau.
Kaal Ratri – After the couple reaches the groom’s house and the initial welcome ceremony is over they are separated for the night, probably to get a refreshing sleep and prepare for the next day’s final wedding ceremony.
Bou Bhaat & Bodhu Boron – The girl cooks and serves all the members of her husband’s family. A banquet is held to treat the guests who lavish gifts on the new bride.
Phool Shojja – The couple is adorned with flowers and are left together alone in their room to enjoy conjugal bliss on a bed laid with flowers.
On the eighth day after the marriage, the couple returns back to the home of the bride. It is a day of jollity for the family and sometimes, people are invited also to partake of that happiness and the family makes arrangements for a lunch.
In this way a new marriage life begins…!!!
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