Traditional Bengali Wedding
The traditional Bengali Wedding method elaborated
Bengali weddings are lot of fun and full of happenings. After selecting perfect match there are certain things which are quite interesting. I will narrate those things in detail below.
Aashirwadi: This is the pre-wedding custom means for blessing to the bride and groom from their elders. This happens few days before the marriage takes place. In this ceremony elders bless the bride and groom separately with gifts like jewellery, sweets and money. They offer pious Sandalwood paste on the forehead of bride and groom and Doorba grass for pureness and tenderness. Then a little celebration party is being arranged. This is the start of the grand ceremony.
Rangoli: This is actually a meaning of the pious decoration of the house. Basically ladies of the house do this part by coloring the surface with designs like flowers, plants, fishes, and other designs. In Bengali it is called Alpana. These designs are made by rice powder and some other colorful materials. Four small banana trees are placed in four corner part of the house. Under those trees clay vessels are placed with raw coconut upon every vessel. Some Mango leaves are also placed upon the vessel but under the coconut. Then a same thing arranged by replacing the clay vessel by copper vessel at the entrance of the house or where the marriage rituals will take place. This vessel is called 'Mangal Ghat'. All part of the house inside and outside is decorated by Mango leaves like the house is garlanded by mango leaves. This is very pious Bengali rituals according to Veda.
Purbapurusha Smarana: This is performed aiming to worship ancestors (remembering forefathers) of bride and groom. A Baran Dala a kind of metal plate with all the items of worshipping are arranged. Priest worships Narayana (Lord Vishnu) first then Kula Devata (chosen deity of the house),and then worships the house ancestors by offering their likened foods. During the Puja the whole house becomes full of fragrance of agarvattis and lightened up by Pradip (lamp) and candles.
Ai Buro Bhat: This is the final grand rice ceremony offered to Bride and Groom by their parents and elders just in the night before the wedding day.
Gaye Halud: This is very symbolic to make Bride and Groom skin glow. During this the Bride and Groom are made to sit upon Piris a kind of designed wooden plank. Then some married women keep their hands one after another and mustard oil poured on to their hands which naturally fall upon bride and groom's head. Then all of them one by one apply turmeric paste and mustard oil on all over the body of bride and groom. These married women blows conch and Ulu (sound made through tongue) which is very pious thing. Though this ceremony does happen first in groom's house then the Piri (plank) and some turmeric pastes are sent to bride's house. Using this they do the ceremony as above.
Shakha Paula: Shakha Paula means a kind of traditional bangles made of Shell and Coral are made to wear in the bride's hands the same time Priest utters the Vedic mantras. This is the sign of calmness and good health. Bengalese has huge faith in this.
Snan: In English it is bathing. This takes place in the noon for groom and late afternoon for bribe. After Gaye Halud some married women take bride and groom to a nearby pond and arrange a Puja (worship) where they invite Goddess Ganga.The bride and groom must take a bath in the pond and after bathing they cover themselves by cloth so that no one can see them. After completion of the ceremony bride and groom wear the new cloths that have been gifted to them by their in laws. These cloths are usually given away to napits (barber) who plays a vital role in this ceremony.
Mandap Sajja: This is the main place where the actual ceremony takes place. Banana trees are placed at the mandap and rangoli in the centre place of the mandap. Lots of flower decorations are there with beautiful colorful lightings.
Kone Saaj : This is a kind of attire specially meant for Bengali bride. After all the pre-wedding ceremonies are done now the bride has to be provided a good amount of time. Because from now she would try to become the gorgeous one for the night. All attentions should be on her. The hair of the bride would be tied into a bun with veil covered. Now days beauticians do a lot of designs around hair portion. Then a Mukut will be placed on her head which is cleverly pinned to the veil. Before Mukut part there will definitely have a bridal makeover on her face. Then some designs will be drawn on her face by Sandalwood Paste. The bride will cover her face by Paan leaves before revealing her to the groom or public.
Bor Saaj: This is also a special kind of attire for the Bengali groom. The groom in Bengal normally wears a Silk Dhoti and Silk Punjabi. Then a Topor (a conical hat made of shoal)will be placed on his head. The bride will also have a special kind of shoes on that day, which is Kolhapuri Shoes. A typical Bengali Bor (bride) is ready.
Bor Aasha: Here the groom reaches the bride's house and he would be welcomed by bride's Mother or any older woman who offers sweets to the groom. In the background a lot of music is very common and pious like Ulu dhvani, conch shell blowing, and the most important music is Shanai a kind of flute music.
Shuva Drishti: Now the bride will be brought to the Mandap. She would be seated on a Piri (wooden Plank) and four members from the bride's maternal uncle's side will carry her in the Mandap. Then she will have her face covered by beetle or Paan leaves. The bride removes the leaf and now for the first time the bride and the groom will look at each other.
Mala Badol: Then both bride and groom greets each other by exchanging garlands each other. Then the Napit (barber) plays a part by reading some traditional Shlokas which are very funny indeed and +18 concepts too.
Ceremony: The couple now takes part in the Yajna ceremony a kind of offering worship to Sacred fire called Agni Deva. They are seated on the Piris. The priest will be continuing his mantras and simultaneously arrange rangolis, Paan, Supari and lot of spices etc. All are traditional and essential for the Yajna too.
Now the couple will have to complete seven rounding of the sacred fire or Agni Kunda.This is called SAAT PHERA or SAAT PAAKE BANDHA. This seven rounding have a meaning that the bride and groom will take oath for dignity, purity and earnestness and for another seven re-birth as married couple.
Now the groom does the most vital part after that no one can separate the couple. Yes, the groom does the SINDOOR DAAN on the forehead of the bride.
Now the Anjali part, the groom keeps the bride's palms upon his hand and the brother of the bride fills up their hand by pupped rice or Khoi. Now the couple is traditionally married which are also official in the eyes of law. During the whole ceremony the couple is tied by a knot of cloth which is called Jor.
Bashar Ghor: After then the couple enters inside the bride's room. Usually the friends from each side keep them awake all the night. Jokes, drama and fun go on.
Bashi Biye: In the next morning, the groom shyly adorns the forehead of his newly wedded wife with Sindoor by looking into a mirror. After that priest chants mantras and they worship the Sun or Surya Deva.
Bidaai: This is actually the ceremony of departure of the couple, a very sad ending to the grand ceremony. All the elders bless the couple by Dhan (Raw Rice) and Doorba grass and money also offered. The bride's parents also bless the couple. All seems to weep during this ceremony because the bride is going to be permanently stayed at the groom's house. The couple also touches the feet of their elders. Then they take seat in a car and gone.
Grihapravesh: When the couple reaches the groom's house, at the doorstep the mother of the groom does perform Aarti with Baran Dala. Then the mother of the groom boils rice on the spot by a clay vessel, the bride then topples the vessel and enters the house.
Bou Bhat: It is the ceremony being done at the groom's house. The traditional method is that the bride has to cook for the first time specially the Payas. Then family friends, relatives are also invited and served with many dishes. Fish is must.
Tatwa: This is actually gifts which are presented by both bride and groom's house. It consists of many designer sweet dishes, Sandesh, Cloths to relatives and fruits. Main attraction is the fish part, a kind of competition of sending bigger fish from each other side.
P.S.: During the whole process, the bride will have a Kajaal Lata in her hand always and the groom will have to keep a scissor in his hand always. This is must.