Updated: Dec 17, 2020
Traditional Indian Weddings rituals are not just attractive, gorgeous, and full of fun, but also culturally rich and diverse. Every distinct Indian community wedding has a different style and some different wedding. And so is the Bengali wedding!
Traditional Bengali matrimony has its own different customs, taste, flavor, attires, food, and rituals – very different from almost all the other parts of India.
There are unlimited unique shades that one must not miss experiencing in a Bengali wedding tradition in order to derive pleasure from this genuine experience. Each and every ceremony is important to watch out for, starting with Aaiburo Bhaat, (the last meal as a bachelor/spinster), Gaye Holud (Haldi ceremony) and the main wedding ritual, afterward the Bashor Ghor.
So, here is the list of things to keep in mind and to check out for and experience, when being at Bengali marriage!
The Bachelorette Feast (Aiburo Bhaat)
This is celebrated a day before the wedding, a grand feast is put forward for the bride and the groom in their separate homes by their respective families. This meal was the last day of their homes as an unmarried man and woman. This is a celebration meal with friends and family joining in the fun of the couple’s end of singlehood and moving into Bengali Matrimony.
The Unique Wedding Attire
Bengali wedding dress is totally different from other Indian wedding outfits, both of the bride and the groom. Throughout the era, the traditional Bengali bride wears a typical red (or any other auspicious color) authentic Banarasi sari and a Red Cheli (Veil) on her wedding day. She is also adorned in a unique, triangular, and tangled carved headgear called Mukut made of Shola (a milky white sponge). Likewise, the groom’s headgear is called Topor, which is conical and equally intricately designed, which is gifted to him by the bride’s side. He wears it during the wedding ceremonies along with his traditional Bengali Dhoti and Kurta. A traditional Bengali bride and groom look beautiful and amazed at their wedding day!
Besides the Mukut and the Topor as headgears, shows a good future and good luck. The bride and groom must also carry two well-defined items in their hand at the time of the wedding ceremonies. The groom holds Jaanti, a traditional betel nutcracker to hold, while the bride holds the gach kouto (a red, tall container) to keep in her hand all the while as they take their marriage vows. These items are commonly thought to be favorable and helpful to ward off bad luck. These are the two different and unique items to look out for in an actual Bengali matrimony.
The Thrilling Shubhodrishti Lift Up in The Air
Saat Paak or the seven circumvents is one of the most amazing and famous wedding rituals. In which the bride is made to get around the groom just before Shubhodrishti (meeting of the couple’s eyes). In this famous custom, often represented in movies that show a Bengali wedding, the brothers/cousin brothers take the bride while she is made to sit on a Piri (wooden plank). This wooden plank is lifted up in the air from all sides by her brothers, and the bride takes seven rounds of the groom. Then, the couple is brought face to face, and this time they finally look at each other for the first time during the day, known as Shubhodrishti (auspicious glance). Then, the couple exchanged glances and then, floral garlands.
In this ceremony, you will see another ceremony as well where the bride covers her face with two green betel leaves all throughout the Saat Paak. She gets down the leaves from her face only after the completion of the seven rounds and at the time of Shubhodrishti.
The terrifying (by most nervous brides) yet most funny game at the time of this ritual is the brothers intentionally lifting the wooden plank much higher than the groom so that he cannot put the garland. The groom’s friends also lift him up to help him succeed in garlanding and winning his bride. This traditional fun competition between the bride’s side and the groom’s side is also fuelled on by family elders adding in funny and friendly jokes from aside. This is one special fun ritual that you should not miss.
The Beautiful Fire Ritual
Then comes a very heart touching ritual called Kanyadaan (giving away the daughter by the father/uncle), then the Yagna fire is lit, and the entire wedding takes place around the fire as the holy witness. The bride and groom offer a puffed rice handout to the fire. The streak of vermilion and Saptapadi takes place around the fire. Saptapadi is the seven steps where the bride pushes the traditional stone pestle with her toe with the groom behind, symbolizing the strength and dedication to keep moving the conjugal and domestic duties ahead no matter how challenging it gets. Also, the couple takes seven rounds around the sacred fire while making seven sacred marital vows. It is a spectacle to behold at a Bengali wedding! These main rites of the evening are exquisitely beautiful to watch and must not be missed.
Unlimited Fun and Frolic
Now you can guess how much the Bengali weddings, like all else, team up with frolic and fun. A large gathering of extended family and friends take part in the wedding procedure that lasts several days. Besides the garland competition, the other extreme fun event is Bashor Ghor. This is the gathering that takes place right after the actual wedding ritual is complete. On the night of the wedding, the newlywed couple is not left alone, but heavily flanked by friends and family who sing, recite, play fun games and make merry along with the couple. This is a fun event that one just cannot miss while attending a Bengali wedding, which is filled with laughter, noise, and fun.
Authentic Bengali Food
If you’re attending a traditional Bengali wedding, be sure it includes an intricate feast including non-vegetarian delicacies. Bengali wedding rituals go at night, and hence, the wedding treat is a hefty and lavish dinner. The menu includes rice like Pulav or ghee bhaat (rice cooked in ghee), various vegetarian dishes, but also without exception, with different non-vegetarian dishes made of fish and meat. If you’re attending a Bengali wedding, stuffing on the wedding feast goes without any words! After dinner, you will see a wide range of desserts like the famous Mishti doi (sweetened curd), rasgullas, and other sweet items. In the end, customary Bengali paan (betel leaf) is offered to every guest.
Completely, a Bengali matrimony is an enjoyable, once-in-a-lifetime experience of unique shades to beware of. Now I hope you know all that all to keep in mind while attending such a Bengali event; go ahead and enjoy the haft in any Bengali wedding!
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