The Traditional Yet Relevant Bengali Wedding Rituals

We at TBB get a number of questions that ask us to details the specifics of wedding rituals found all over this vast and diverse country of ours. Today, in response to that, we’re bringing you Bengali Wedding Rituals – which are true to tradition while remaining squarely in 2016. So, read on.

Matchmaking and Fixing The Bengali Wedding

In a traditional Bengali arranged marriage, the match is fixed by the ghotoks (matchmakers), who make sure of the facilitation of the introduction of the bride and the groom’s family. The ghotoks are generally mutual family friends who know both the parties well and can provide detailed information about each other’s backgrounds and reputation in the society.

Today, the Bengali society is also quite open minded about love marriages and most families easily give their blessings to the couple, and these matches are known as love-cum-arranged marriages. This,perhaps, makes the role of the ghotoks a little less significant in the prospect of a contemporary Bengali wedding.

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The Pre Bengali Wedding Rituals: Adaan-Pradan, Pati-Patro And More

Like any other Indian Hindu Wedding, a traditional Bengali wedding is also complete only when a set of rituals and traditions are followed in the truest sense. It is a very colourful, joyful and extravagant affair which involves all the family members of the concerned couples in terms of merrymaking and the arrangement of the wedding. Some of the essential pre-wedding rituals that you will find in a typical Bengali wedding are:

When the ghotoks have made sure that both the families approve of the match, sweets and delicious foods are shared between the close members of both the families and the ghotok receives dakshina.

bengali wedding - blushing bride

Pati-Patro

In a Bengali wedding marriage, a girl and a boy from the same gotra are considered as brother-sister and cannot marry. In the Patri-Patro ceremony, a purohit (priest) is called to go through the lineage and the horoscope of both the parties to make sure that they are not related in any way and the maximum number of Gunas in their Kundali matches for a successful and happily married life.

Ashirbaad

Ashirbaad can be viewed as a Bengali engagement ceremony involving the couple receiving blessings from the elders of both families, and is a significant step in having their relationship approved, so to speak. The couple also receive gifts that include clothes and jewelry. A A feast follows and the gathered relatives and friends along with the would-be bride and groom feast on delicious food, drinks and, also true to old traditions, sweets.

Virdhi

It is an essential ceremony that is performed a day before the wedding. The ritual involves a prayer being offered to the ancestors of the coupl-to-be, seeking blessings. All the family of both sides is present. Beautiful alpana and rangoli designs adorn the occasion. A copper vessel known as an orghot is placed on the rangoli. The purohit worships Narayana making the use of silver baran dalaa. The ceremony is performed by the paternal uncle of the bride as well as the groom.

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Ai Buddho Bhaat

It is a very special ritual followed by the members of the bride’s family. The bride is treated with all her favorite food and drinks in what is supposed to be her last meal as a maiden in her paternal house. Though the significance of this ritual is not as strong today, it still holds a special place in everyone’s heart because it facilitates more celebrations and grand feasts, and moments of joy and happiness!

Gaye Holud

bengali wedding - Gaye-Holud

In this ceremony the bride is made to sit on the ground surrounded by four banana plants and she wears a bright yellow saree for the occasion. A paste of turmeric and sandalwood/mustard oil that is sent from the groom’s family is applied all over the body of the bride by her elders, relatives and friends as a ritual of beautification and purification of the body before the auspicious ceremonies of marriage.

Bengali Wedding Piris

The day before the wedding, auspicious piris are brought to the bride’s house, which are then used for the seating of the bride and the groom at the wedding. The piris are painted with beautiful patterns and decorated with shells. On the same day, gifts are exchanged between the two families to mark the occasion.

Dodhi Mongol

Very early the next morning, the bride and the groom are separately (by their respective families) taken to a nearby pond to invite the Goddess Ganga to their marriage. They also take back a pitcher of water. Finally, delicacies are served with curd and rice flakes Sweets, too are part of the occasion.

bengali wedding -Dodhi-Mongol

Shankha Paula

As this ritual would have it, the purohit chants Vedic mantras while seven married women adorn the hands of the would-be bride with conch shell and lac bangles. The shankha or conch shell bangle symbolize the quality of the moon which should be adopted by the bride. The red color of the lac or coral bangles is considered a sign of fertility and good health.

Adhibas Tatva

Abhidas tatva are a series of gifts the bride’s family gives the groom’s family. The relatives of the bride’s family decorate the gifts on the copper plates which includes sarees, fish, sweets, paan, dhaan and durbo. The relatives are welcomed in the house of the groom warmly and served sweets.

Gaye Holud Tatva

bengali wedding - Gaye-Holud-Tatva

In gaye hould tatva, the bride is presented with at least 6 sarees, her favorite cosmetics, and other eatables and sweets from the groom’s family. The occasion is marked with the blowing of the conch shell and the lighting of incense sticks. A feast follows and the bride is blessed for her future prospects, a happy married life and fine kids.

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Kubi Patta

It is a ceremony which is followed to worship Kuber, the god of gold, and it takes place at the houses of both the bride and groom. The ritual is carried out on the day of the marriage when the family members keep three metal glasses filled to the brim with dhaan, khoi and crushed rice at the altar.

Snan

bengali wedding - Snan

It is one ritual that is a must which is followed by the bride and the groom separately. In this ritual, the bride as well as the groom are applied with turmeric and mustard oil paste and then given a proper bath, after which the groom wears new clothes for the marriage that comes from each other’s families. The old clothes that were worn by them are given away to the barber.

Mondop Ayojon

The place where the wedding rituals will take place is a very holy place called as the mondop. Two banana plants are place at each side of the mondop and the area is decorated with alpana and rangoli, rice paste and colors. The mondop is also brightened up with flowers and lighting.

Kone-Saaj

For the bridal dressing, the bride has to wear a benarsi saree that is present by the groom’s family. After the bridal make up is done, a mukut is placed over the head of the bride and secured with pins. Then a very beautiful bindi decoration is created on the forehead and cheeks of the bride with chandan paste. After that she is given the gach kouto and kajal lata that she is supposed to hold all the while throughout the marriage ceremonies.

bengali wedding - kone-soj

Bengali Wedding Day Rituals And Traditions

After these pre-wedding rituals are covered the day before, is the turn of the main rituals which sanction the completion of the wedding and the unification of the two souls. The highlighting rituals of the Bengali wedding day are:

Bor Jatri

The groom with his friends and family starts the journey to the bride’s family house. The wedding will take place there. The whole journey is carried out with huge pomp and show! People dance and celebrate merrily and the groom is given a car or a chariot and comes with his ned bor to be welcomed by the family of the bride.

Bor Boron

The rituals that involve the welcoming of the groom once they reach the venue. He is welcomed by the elders of the family who celebrate the occasion with boron dala, which contains incense sticks, a lamp, sweets, rice and kumkum.

Potto Bostro

Once the groom is welcomed and seated under the chhadnatola in the mandap, he is given new clothes from the family of the bride that he changes to wear them for the upcoming wedding rituals at the Bengali wedding.

Shaant Paak

The bride is seated on the piri and the members of the bride’s family pick her up and give seven rounds around the groom which is called as the ritual of shaant paak. All through this time, the bride keeps her face hidden from the groom by keeping it covered with the betel leaves.

Subho Drishti

bengali wedding - Subho-Drishti

After the shaant paak comes the time for the bride to remove those betel leaves hiding her face and eyes and they exchange glances for the first time, which is called as the ritual of shubho drishti.

Mala Badal

Next is the auspicious ritual of exchanging garlands. The bride and the groom exchange garlands thrice under chandnatola. This happens in front of parents and relatives, who witness.

Sampradan

It is a sacred and most important ritual as the bride’s father finally gives her hand to her groom under the chandnatola with the blessings of the gods and the chants of the purohit reciting Vedic mantras at the background.

Yagna

At a Bengali wedding holy fire is lit and Vedic mantras are chanted to please the gods and goddesses so that they shower their blessings for the holy matrimony of the bride and the groom.

Saptapadi

bengali wedding - Saptapadi

After that the bride and the groom stand together and take seven rounds around the fire, with the groom leading the bride which symbolizes their union for the next seven generations.

Anjali

Next, the bride and the groom cup their hands together and offer puffed rice into the holy fire of the yagna.

Sindoor Daan

At last, the groom sindhoor on the forehead of the bride with a ring or a coin, without looking at her, and the bride covers her head with a saree during this time, called a ghoomta. This is the final wedding ritual in a Bengali marriage which is then followed by the post wedding rituals.

Post Wedding Rituals

These rituals are simple and required for the proper introduction of the bride into the family of the groom. Some of the prominent post wedding rituals are:

Bashar Ghar

It is after the sindoor daan that the couple are sated with their friends and fed with food and drink, thus breaking their whole day long fast.

Bashi Biye

The day after the bengali wedding, the groom again puts sindhoor on the forehead of the bride and the occasion is marked with further celebrations.

Bidai

The bride takes leave from her maternal house, gives farewell to her family, relatives and friends to start her new life in her new home with her groom and his family.

Bou Baran

bengali wedding - Bou-Baran

The ritual is performed to welcome the bride. She is asked to place both her feet in a plate filled with lac dye and milk. With these colored feet she is to walk on a white piece of cloth and her foot impressions are caste on the cloth.

Kaal Raatri

It is the one night when he bride and the groom are kept in separate quarters and not allowed to spend the night in the same room.

Bou Bhaat

The next evening the bride prepares some sweet dish and a feast is held where she serves the family members and relatives. It is kind of an introduction ceremony for the family of the groom.

Dira Gaman

bengali wedding - Dira-Gaman

It is a ceremony in which the newly-wed couples visit the bride’s house for the first time as a married couple. The purohit cuts the thread that was tied on the hand of the bride at the time of the wedding. The occasion is marked with the blowing of the conch shells and ululation.

Phool Shojja

On the third night of the marriage, the bride and the groom are finally allowed to spend the night together, and it marks their journey of a happy conjugal life. The room and the bed are decorated with flowers and the bed is prepared with silk bedding for the bride and the groom. It is the last of the wedding traditions of a Bengali wedding.

So there you have it folks, we hope that in -depth look at Bengali wedding rituals satisfies any cravings for the inner goings-on of a traditional Bengali wedding that you might have had. And as always, discussions in the comments below will be answered forthwith! Thanks for reading.

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