Being a Bengali myself I have been a part of Bengali marriages from a very young age. Sometimes all I can remember is being a ‘Nitbou’ in my aunt’s wedding was my first wedding but when I go through the wedding albums at home I realize I were a part our family weddings even before that. You might be wondering what is ‘Nitbou’, well as per Bengali custom a 3-5-year-old girl is decked up like the bride and then she is made to sit with the bride in all the wedding day rituals. It is believed to bring good luck for the bride.
All Indian weddings are very colourful and fun-filled but Bengali weddings are loud. I mean if you ever attend any Bengali wedding rituals you will know how loudly Bengali ladies can laugh at the tiniest joke. And another thing I love about Bengali wedding is that the relatives including the bride’s or the groom’s cousins hardly let a chance pass to pull the would be wed’s leg. It is fun to see how much fun people can have with family. Sometimes you just cannot understand who is the adult in the group.
It is a fact that Bengali’s do not have the mehendi or the sangeet ceremony though these days, people are having them just to have some more fun. So, if you are a soon to be Bengali bride and groom then here is your introduction to the days to come:
In this particular ritual, the families of both the bride and the groom meet at a place so that they can fix the date of the wedding, with the help of their priest. There are quite a few Bengali families where this tradition is still in practice, while in most of the families these days, the date is decided over the phone.
Aashirvad means giving blessings. In this ritual, the soon-to-be-in-laws bless the bride and the groom. Husked rice and trefoil leaves are kept on the head of the bride and the groom as a symbol of the blessing. They are also gifted gold ornaments and other gifts as a symbol of love.
Ai Budo Bhaat:
This ritual is similar to the bachelor or bachelorette party. It is a fun event, wherein the bride and the groom are offered with the best Bengali delicacies. All the close family members present there to sing and dance and celebrate the onset of the wedding.
This ritual takes place at the dawn of the wedding day. It starts with the ladies of the house going to the nearby water body to bring a pot of water before anyone else. This water would be utilized for the bath after the haldi. The bride and the groom are then fed a mixture of curd, rice flacks, sweets, and banana. Make sure you eat well as after this you cannot eat a thing till the wedding.
This ritual takes place at the bride and groom’s respective homes where the priest chant mantras and the family pay homage to their ancestors. This is just the start you are yet to experience the sweetness of Bengali marriage rituals.
Tatta, Gae Holud, and Sankhs Pola:
Before the gae holud that is the haldi ceremony starts the groom’s, the family sends Tatta that is some gifts for the bride which contains the saree that the bride would wear during the ceremony along with the turmeric paste that has already been applied to the groom. In gae holud the same paste is applied to the bride and then she is taken for the bath. She is then made to wear the conch shell bangles in red and white as the symbol of good luck.
Wedding Day Rituals
Bor Jatri And Bor Boron:
Bor jatri is referred to the grooms wedding procession. On arrival, the mother of the bride applies tilak on the groom’s forehead, from the baran dala and does his aarti in a form welcomes him.
In this ritual, the groom sits near the mandap where the maternal uncle of the bride does Kanya sampradan. This is when the groom is the gifted new set of clothes which he has to wear for the following rituals. These clothes are known as Potto Bostro.
The bride is brought by her brothers on a wooden pidi and is taken around the groom seven times. All this while bride covers her face with beetle leaves and at the end of the seventh round she removes the leaves and meets the groom’s eyes this beautiful moment is known as Subho drishti. Among all the hooting the bride and the groom exchange garlands thrice.
Sampradan And Saat Pakh:
During sampradan, the eldest member of the bride’s family gives away their beloved daughter to the groom. Then the bride and groom take seven rounds of the holy fire and takes their wedding vows. After every round, the bride stands in front of the fire and groom holds her hand from behind while she thows Khoi in the fire with the help of winnowing.
Sindoor Daan And Lojja Bostro:
In this ritual, the groom applies vermilion on the forehead of the bride and a lady from the groom’s or the bride’s family covers her head with a veil covers.
Again, these rituals may vary from family to family. Like in our family which means mostly the Brahmin bride and groom of the Bengali community has to observe the sindoor daan ritual the next day before the bidai of the bride. So, don’t you think that though it is the shortest marriage it has a sweetness and uniqueness to it?