Wedding Rituals in West Bengal
Just like weddings at any part of the world, Bengali weddings have their own customs and rituals. Although mostly these follow the Hindu Bengali customs and traditions, they can vary according to religion, broadly speaking. Here we will basically talk about the Hindu Bengali traditions which are unique in themselves because they have certain traditions which are not followed elsewhere.
The wedding rituals here are quite elaborate. All these customs give enough time for the loved ones to spend quality time with each other. However, you will not find the Punjabi vigour in these weddings or the Gujrati excitement. But one thing you will find in every Bengali wedding is an inherent sarcasm lurking in the air and since everybody loves music, you can expect to get your ears soothed at these ceremonies – needless to say the beautiful bong attire that looks lovely! You can also read the article about Maharashtrian Wedding Ritual.
The ceremonies start with pre wedding preparations.
- Adan Pradan
Once the couple approves each other and is accepting of the relationship, the families come together. The priest who comes with the family looks at the horoscope and makes sure their horoscopes match. The event is concluded by both families exchanging gifts.
This is a ritual wherein the bride’s and the groom’s family accept the bride and groom as an addition to their family. It is the bride’s family that goes to the groom’s house to shower blessings and accept him as a member of their family and then the groom’s family visits the bride’s house for the same. They sprinkle husked rice and ritual leaves on them and give them gifts of gold ornaments.
- Vridhi Puja
This is a puja that is done to take the blessings of the ancestors of both the bride’s and the groom’s side. The ancestors are remembered and their blessing for the ceremony is taken.
- Aai Budo Bhaat
Aai Budo Bhaat is a very emotional ritual. This is the last meal of the bride in her parents’ house. They give her all her favorites on a platter. The night followed by this meal is entirely dedicated to the bride. They sing and dance to enjoy her last day of stay.
- Gae Holud Tattva
She is gifted with makeup kits, sarees, paan, etc, on this event. Any people think this ceremony is the same as Holud Kota but it is not.
- Dodhi Mongol
The bride and the groom wake up at the dawn and with their family go to a nearby pond to take the blessings of Goddess Ganga. They also bring home a pitcher full of water from there.
- Holud Kota
It is similar to the Haldi ceremony in Northern India. Married women apply turmeric paste to the bride and groom in their houses. They then bathe and wear new clothes.
- Sankha Porano
Again this ritual is dedicated to the bride. She is worn conch shells bangles known s Sankha and red bangles known as Paula. Then she gets ready for the wedding.
- Bor Jatri
The Bor Jatri is a term given to the procession that comes from the groom’s side of the family. It is a part of the main custom for the “bor jatri” to come.
- Welcoming the groom
It is done with a “baran dala” or a plate which is touched to the groom’s forehead and then around him to keep evil eyes away from the groom. She then performs an aarti and welcomes the groom to their home.
- Potto Bastra
This is the ritual where the bride enters the mandap but before that the groom is given new clothes by the members of the bride’s family after he sits on the wedding altar which is called “Chandnatolla”.
- Saat Paak
The bride sits on a wedding stool called “pidi” and she is carried around the mandap while she holds a paan to cover her face. Her brothers or uncles carry her around. It is a fun sight exclusive to the Bengalees in India. This is done because the bride is not supposed to see her groom before she sits down at the altar.
- Subho drishti
The Subho Drishti is done right after the saat paak. It is the event wherein the bride and groom look at each other. It is often followed by funny comments and giggles from the relatives who watch them see each other.
- Mala Badal
The mala Badal is the same as any other Hindu tradition where the bride and the groom exchange garlands. Doing this right after the subho dristi signifies that they accept each other and are ready to be loving towards each other. The exchange is done 3 times. You can also read the article to know the south Indian wedding rituals.
Here the bride’s family gives her hand to the groom in marriage. Their hands are tied with a sacred threat and covered with paan while the priest chants Vedic mantras.
- Yagna and Saptapadi
Yagna happens wherein the couple sits in front of the holy fire while the priests keeps chanting mantras of bonding and ties the couple together in marriage forever. Then the Sapta Padi or Saat Paak goes on. Here the couple has to take seven rounds around the fire while touching seven paan leaves with their toes.
- Anjali ritual
To carry on the Anjali ritual the bride’s brother hands over some puffed rice to the couple who are sitting in the altar. They then offer this puffed rice to the fire God.
- Sindoor Daan
The last and the final step is completed after the Sindoor daan. This is the step where the groom applies Sindoor on the bride’s scalp where the hair is parted. This is when the marriage rituals are complete and new sarees are gifted to the bride.
You can also read the article to know the things required during hindu wedding pooja.
Post wedding rituals
This is the ceremony after the day of the wedding where the bride bids farewell to her parents and relatives and leaves with the groom to her new home at her in laws.
- Bou Baran
This is the welcoming of the new bride at the groom’s place. The relatives of the groom’s house (female), put holy water under the vehicle in which the couple arrives. At the door she steps into a large plate containing red dye and milk and enters the new house leaving her footprints.
- Kaal Ratri
This is called “ratri” or night but it is actually carried out throughout the day. the bride and the groom cannot see each other or sleep in the same room on the first night of her arrival at groom’s house.
- Bou Bhaat and phool sojja
Bou bhaat is the first meal a bride has at her in laws place. It is thrown like a bash. The bride’s relatives and parents (called Kone Jatri which is the opposite of bor jatri) visit the groom’s house where a grand party is thrown for the new bride.
- Phool Sojja
Phool means flower and sojja “bed”. The bed is adorned with flowers. The bride and groom’s first night together after marriage is termed as the phool sojja night.
|1||Topor||The headgear bride and groom wear|
|2||Sankha||Conch shell bangle|
|3||Kone Jatri||Procession of bride’s side|
1. 8 Ways of binding Turban for grooms to look Wow