Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Rituals Of Bengali Marriage

Bengali marriages are a mixture of pure custom, tradition and religious beliefs. It is an occasion where the entire family gather, take part in the typical Bengali 'Adda', regale in fanfare and remain busy in making the necessary arrangements for the invitees.Bengali marriage is a mixture of culture, tradition and rituals.It consists of numerous customs, mainly traditional, performed by the women of the house, for the new couple. The actual marriage ceremony, comprising of Vedic rituals is performed with devotion for the young couple about to set up a new life.

The Ashirbaad: engagement

In this occasion groom and bride's families meets together who exchange their gifts, discussions and fix date of marriage. Elders give their blessings to couple by showering 'dhaan' (husked rice) and 'dooba'.Al Buddo Bhaat
In this a bride as an unmarried girl take her last meal at her paternal home. Bride's mother prepares Bengali dishes for her daughter, which is shared by the all family.

Gai Halood / Haldi Uptan

This custom is held on the sunrise of wedding day. The family members of grooms apply turmeric paste on his body. This is a friendly function full of joy and happiness where his relatives, especially the girls, mercilessly tease the groom! After rubbing this paste on grooms paste is sent at the bride's home for her 'Gai Halood' ceremony. Before dawn, on wedding day, the bride takes 'Dahi Mangal' (custard-like food made from curdled milk), after this she fasts until the marriage ritual is over.
Shaka PaulaThe bride is decorated with coral and shell bangles by 'sumangalis'
Sanskrit 'shlokas' (verses) chanted by the priest, seven married women or 'sumangalis' beautify the bride with coral and shell bangles. The groom sends an iron and silver knotted bangle for the bride, indicates a strong and stable relationship.

Boijotri: The wedding procession

The maternal uncles of bride bring the bridegroom, his family and friends to the wedding spot. The groom is stunning in 'sherwani' (long coat) or traditional 'dhoti kurta'.
With the blowing of the conch, the 'boijotri' or 'baraat' (wedding procession) sets off for the wedding venue.
Potto Bastra: Welcoming the groom
On the entrance of groom, bride's elders receive the groom with the 'boron' (straw colander) by holding a lamp, honey, yogurt and betel leaves. Then groom exposed himself with a shawl and a 'dhoti', which he is supposed to wear for the wedding ceremony.

The wedding:

Shubh Dhristi / Exchange of garland:

The bride walks up to the groom, eyes lowered and goes around him seven times, welcoming him and then stands in front of him. Her face is covered with betel leaves, which are moved apart to enable the couple to make eye contact for the 'shubh dhristi' (auspicious 'viewing' of each other).
The couple now exchanges garlands and the groom proceeds to the 'mandap' (marriage platform) followed by the bride.

Kanyadaan: Giving away the bride

Amongst Vedic chanting the bride's parents symbolically hand over their most precious gift, their daughter, to the bridegroom.

Hasta Milap

The hands of the couple are tied together in a symbolic knot and the bride is formally handed over to her husband.


The couple takes the seven steps of matrimony around the sacred fire. With each step the bride leaves her family and with the seventh step, she finally becomes a member of her husband's family. The bride and groom take a promise with each step.


Performed at the end of the marriage rituals, this ceremony is the safeguard of a husband. He applies the 'sindoor' on the parting in the hair of his bride to begin her marital status.

Bashar Ghar

After the wedding feast, the groom's family, friends and guests leave but the groom live there in the bride's home. The following day is spent at his in-laws amidst a lot of teasing and entertaining by the younger generation in the 'bashar ghar' or ceremonial room.


In one of the most emotional moments of her life, the 'vidaai', the bride takes leave of her parental home. For her it symbolizes the changing of her 'gotra' (ancestral lineage) and allegiances in one stroke!
Welcoming the bride in her marital home
On entering the home, mother-in law gives her new daughter -in law a fish to hold, while she waits for the milk to boil over (symbolizing a house overflowing with food and affection).
The bride then steps onto a platter containing 'alta' (vermilion water) and walks into her new home leaving her foot imprints on the floor of the house. She is then taken straight into the kitchen and blessed by all the elders.

Bahu Bhaat

The following day is a very important one for the bride as it is on this day that she is formally accepted by all her husband's relatives through the formality of the 'Bahu Bhaat'.
The groom's family generally hosts the wedding reception
, which is a formal function to introduce the newly weds to family and friends.

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