Bengali Wedding Rituals: An all-informative guide!
India is a country with numerous cultures and traditions. So of course, each wedding would hold its fair share of them. And with the number of wedding rituals our big fat weddings are accustomed to, you’re bound to get a bit confused! So this time, we take you through all the days of a Bengali wedding, their special rituals and customs, and all the traditional yet fun ceremonies. Scroll on for all the info you need!
PRE – WEDDING RITUALS
This is when the two families would get together along with a priest to match the couple’s horoscopes and decide an auspicious date for the marriage. Once it is finalised, gifts are exchanged.
Nowadays though, horoscope compatibility and such things are being checked online, making this ritual slightly obsolete.
This ceremony is done to signify the acceptance of the bride and groom by their respective in-laws. They bless the couple by putting husked rice and trefoil leaves on their heads and gift them gold ornaments or other gifts as a token of their love.
Ai Budo Bhaat
This refers to the last meal the bride and the groom eat at their respective parents’ houses. It’s an occasion of singing, dancing and enjoying authentic Bengali delicacies.
Gae Holud Tattva
This is when the groom’s family visits the bride and gifts her with a new saree, henna, turmeric paste, beauty products, sweets and other culturally significant things.
This Bengali wedding ritual is performed by the bride and groom separately at the dawn of the wedding day. They are each accompanied by a few married women of the family to a nearby pond to take blessings from Ganga. A pitcher of water from the pond is then brought home.
Holud Kota and Snan
This is similar to Haldi ceremony that takes place among North Indians. Turmeric paste and oil is applied to the bride and groom.
After this ceremony, they bathe and wear new clothes.
It is a ritual where seven married women make the bride where red and white conch-shell bangles. The white is Sankha and the red is Pola.
Bor Jatri and Bor Boron
The wedding procession led by the groom proceeds to the wedding venue.
The bride’s family welcomes the groom and his wedding party and performs an aarti.
Once the groom is seated in the chadnatolla (mandap), he is gifted new clothes by the maternal uncle of the bride, who would later perform the Sampradan ritual. These clothes are called Potto Bostro and are to be worn during the wedding rituals.
Saat Paak and Shubho Drishti
In this Bengali wedding ritual, the bride is carried to the mandap by her brothers/uncles on a low wooden stool called pidi. They walk around the groom seven times. This is known as Saat Paak.
During this time, the bride is to keep her eyes covered with a pair of betel leaves. Once the seven rounds are complete, she removes the leaves. The bride and groom then look at each other, in the presence of guests. This is Shubho Drishti.
While still seated on the pidi, the bride and grooms exchange garlands to symbolise the acceptance of one another.
The couple sits in the mandap while the person who performed the Potto Bostro ties their hands together with a sacred thread.
Yagna and Saat Paak / Saptapadi
Yagna refers to the ritual where the priest recites Vedic Mantras while the couple sits in front of a holy fire. Then they are required to walk around the holy fire seven times. The end of the bride’s saree and the groom’s uttariya are tied in a knot while they do this.
In this Bengali ritual, the brothers hands the bride some puffed rice which the couple then throws into the holy fire.
Sindoor Daan and Ghomta
The groom puts sindoor on the bride’s hair parting and then covers her head with a new saree called Ghomta.
POST – WEDDING RITUALS
The bride bids farewell to her family and leaves for her new home along with her husband. As she departs, the bride throws fistful of rice backwards without turning. She does this to symbolically try to repay her family for bringing her up.
In this Bengali wedding ritual, the newly married couple is welcomed into the groom’s house. The mother of the groom washes the tyres of the vehicle in which they arrived. At the front door, the bride steps on a plate contained red lac dye and milk. As she steps in, she leaves her footprints on the floor.
The couple sleeps in separate rooms on the night of the wedding as it is a belief that if they sleep together on the first night, their conjugal life would not be harmonious.
The next day, the bride cooks some dishes for her husband and the family. This is known as the bou-bhaat. The husband hands over a saree and a plate of food to his wife, pledging to take care of her throughout his life. This Bengali wedding ceremony is called bhaat kapor.
This is the couple’s first night together. The room and the bed is decorated with flowers. The two are expected to consummate their marriage.
*The main Bengali functions that are held at a venue are the Holud Kota, the wedding and the reception.
The Holud Kota may or may not require a venue and can be held at the bride's and groom's house, depending upon personal choice and convenience.
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