As a couple marks the beginning of their journey together, the Bengali wedding rituals and festivities play a significant role in bringing two families together under one roof to celebrate love and happiness! Bengali wedding rituals are a visual treat owing to the vibrant colours replete in every ceremony. Like every Indian wedding, Bengali weddings are distinctly different from other Hindu weddings while sharing some common foundations like the Phere. But from the outfit to the pre and post-wedding ceremonies, there are so many big and small aspects of a Bengali wedding that make it unique, memorable and picturesque.
Some of these traditional ceremonies followed by families from different regions of Bengal and Bangladesh vary. So, let's leap right into the pre-wedding ceremonies, which start typically a few months before the wedding ceremony, making Bengali wedding rituals special. Pre-wedding rituals
It all starts with the Adan Pradan, this is a simple Bengali wedding ritual where both the families meet at a decided place after the bride and groom have agreed to get married. Priests join this gathering to decide upon an auspicious date to conduct the marriage after aligning their horoscopes. Once the formalities are concluded, the families exchange gifts to celebrate this landmark moment and the future.
Once the date for the wedding it all set in stone, the next Bengali wedding ritual is Aashirvad where the bride and groom converge to meet their in-laws, elders and even extended family to seek blessing before they start this beautiful journey together. The relatives shower the couples head with husked rice, trefoil leaves and also give out gifts, which often include ornaments, as a blessing and loving gesture. This ceremony is usually conducted before the wedding but some couple even has it on the wedding day.
Ai Buro Bhaat
Friends and family gather at the bride and groom's house a day before the wedding to offer a plate full of delicious delicacies from traditional Bengali food which is considered their last grand meal as single. On the lines of a north Indian Sangeet, this Bengali wedding ritual involves a lot of dancing and singing adding to the fun!
At dawn of the wedding day, family members and relatives of the bride/groom go to a water body, typically a river, to fill a pitcher with water to be used during another ceremony called the Snan. Then the couple is fed curd, rice flakes, banana and sweets after which they are required to fast until their wedding. An 'awww' moment during the Bengali wedding ritual is when the mother feeds this meal to the bride or the groom.
On the morning before the wedding, at the bride and grooms home respectively, a priest chants Vedic incantations while the families pay respects to their forefathers. At this small puja in the Bengali wedding rituals, the families pay for the well-being of their ancestors while also seeking their blessings for the bride and groom as they leap into the future.
Soon after this puja, in the series of Bengali wedding rituals, both the families send across gifts also known as 'Tattva' to their in-laws. The groom's family also send across new saree, oil, decorated carp, grooming products and food items which are to be used by the bride during ‘Gaye Holud’.
In the next Bengali wedding ritual, called Gaye Holud the groom's body is slathered with turmeric paste which is then packed along with the tattva gifts and sent across to the bride's house where the same paste is applied to her body. The water brought from the river is used to bathe the bride in a ceremony called Snan. The bride adorns the new saree gifted by her in-laws.
Sakha & Pola
The last pre-Bengali wedding ritual revolves around bangles like many other traditions in India. While in some Bengali weddings, the bride wears red and white colour shell bangles on Ai Budo Bhaat while in others, the bride adorns these traditional bangles after the Gaye Holud. Now, the difference is white bangles are called Sankha while the red ones are Pola which comes to symbolise a married woman.
Bengali wedding rituals are all about the elaborate traditions, mirth and love as a couple mark the beginning of their journey together as a married couple. Along each step of the way of these pre-wedding rituals, the couple and their family invoke blessings from God and their ancestors while expressing gratitude for everything. These ceremonies focus not only on the bride and groom but also their families as, after all, they all make ties which will last a lifetime.
So which Bengali wedding ritual was your favourite? Do let us know in the comments.