The wedding customs in India are determined by the cultural sub sectors that exist here since ages. Every region of India is distinct in it and has nourished a different set of cultural attributes that offer to provide a unique fervor to the society of that region. Bengal is located in the eastern part of India and has its own cultural distinctions that are manifested in the weddings there. Here are the significant marriage traditions of a Bengali marriage.
The typical Bengali Hindu wedding offers much of the differences through its customs and unique traditions when compared to the broader concept followed in the north Indian Hindu weddings. The deep rooted cultural values have been kept alive brilliantly by the generations.
Making introduction -
A Bengali marriage is arranged by ghotoks who could be the relatives or friends. They act to offer the initial introduction about the two families so that further discussion could be taken up and decision be arrived. When the marriage is finalized then number of customs begin that could be divided into the pre wedding and wedding customs.
The pre wedding customs and rituals include the following –
Ashirbad – this is concerned with accepting the relation between the two families. The elders from the bride and groom side go to each other’s house and shower their blessings on them. They are offered the gold ornaments and other pleasantries as a mark of their acceptance as the son in law & daughter in law.
Gaye Holud – this is a custom in which the 5 – 7 married women on each side (bride & groom) prepare the paste of turmeric and other ingredients that is then applied to the bride and groom. This makes the skin brighter and glowing. Also, this is in fine synonymy with the similar customs in all regions and faiths of India.
Dodhi Mongal – 7 married ladies offer the customary bangles pairs – sakha and paula in red and while colors and feed the bride to be with curd and rice. Then after, bride keeps fast for the day.
The rituals that are taken up at the wedding ceremony are –
The bride sits on a small stool of wood that is lifted by the brothers. She takes seven rounds around the groom. The bride holds paan leaves that hide her face.
After the saat paak, the bride is allowed to lower the paan leaves and she and groom behold each other.
This is similar to the jaimaal that is an iconic tradition of Hindu wedding. The bride and groom offer the flower garlands to each other.
The father offers her daughter to the groom forever. This is same as the kanyadaan tradition of the north India.
These are the seven sacred vows that the bride and groom both take towards their married life and they accept the allied responsibilities also towards each other.
The bride is offered sindoor by the groom. A new sari is also offered as ghomta.
These rituals complete the Bengali Hindu marriage!