A Bengali Wedding is an elaborate function and a very important family affair. It is the union of two people and their sentiments. It is a union of not only the couple but also the family members. The wedding ceremony involves exchange of vows between the couple. A wedding is a great occasion for any family, as it brings together many relatives & friends. The couple is presented with gifts and flowers by everyone. Special traditional garments are often ordered and worn for various events during the wedding. Every religion has its unique style of traditions during the ceremony. The wedding ceremonies are often followed by receptions.
Most of the weddings have few things in common like welcoming the guests, giving gifts to the couple, blessings from elders etc. Almost all Hindu weddings have these things in common: Vara Satkara, Kanyaa Daan, Vivah Homa, Pani Grahan, Pratigna graham, Shila Arohan, Mangal Fere, Saptapadi, Anna Prashan & Aashirwaad.
Similarly, the Bengalis also have their own special way to bring together two families. Bengalis are always known for their colorful rituals. A typical traditional Bengali wedding involves a series of elaborate and enjoyable rituals with many traditions. Each of them has their own importance in the married life.
Every Bengali wedding has to have the conchs’ shells and the women ululating (howling noises), during the wedding. Bengalis are well known for their artistic and musical background. Like in any traditional Hindu wedding, the Bengali weddings also have live musicians while the ceremonies take place. The shehnai is most popular musical instrument played during the weddings. The environment created with the music invites the guests. It is kind of declaration and celebration at the same time from the family, to the society.
There are few traditions which are followed before the wedding. They are:
Ashirbaad – An auspicious day is selected. The Bengali bride is blessed by the groom’s parents and is presented with gifts. In the same way the Bengali groom is also blessed by the bride’s parents and given gifts.
Aai Budo Bhaat – It is a typical bachelorette party organized by friends and relatives on the previous day of the wedding.
Holud Kota – During this ceremony, five married women of the family grind turmeric in traditional way and apply it to the bride. They say it brings charm and brightens up the bride’s face. It brings glow on the bride’s face. This ritual is common in most of the Hindu wedding.
Dodhi Mongol – On the very same day seven married women from the bride’s family enhance her beauty by adorning traditional Bengali bangles shakha & paula. They also feed her with curd rice which is the meal for the day.
The wedding day has many rituals to be followed. Some of them are:
Bor Jatri – This is the time when the Bengali groom is all decked up and all his relatives and friends leave for bride’s house or to the place where the wedding is going to take place.
Bor Boron – The groom and the family is welcomed by the bride’s family with sweets and drinks.
Saat Paak – After the groom is seated, he is offered new clothes. The bride takes her place on a small wooden stool called as pidi. She is then lifted and taken seven complete circles of the groom. This signifies that they are securely winded to the each other. This is common ritual amongst Hindus.
Mala Badal – After the circles are completed. The bride is still seated on the piri and both bride and the groom exchange garlands thrice.
Sampradan – The couple are then allowed to look at each other in front of all the invitees. An elderly person from the family keeps the brides hand over the groom’s hand. Their hands are bound by the sacred thread called the mangal ghot.
Yagna – The yagna takes place as the couple sit in front of the sacred fire. The couple takes seven circular rounds sanctifying the occasion.
Sindoor Daan and Ghomta – The bride’s brother offers puffed rice to the fire. The couple is then seated in their respective places. The groom then applies vermilion on the bride’s hair-parting. The bride’s head is then covered by the new saree offered by the groom’s parents.
The bride is bid adieu by her parents and family members with blessings.