A typical Bengali wedding is held for 2 to 3 days. The ceremonies and rituals are so traditional, lively and full of bright colors. The marriage comprises of elaborate, vivid and vibrant rites and rituals which are equally enjoyable and also carry the Bengali essence in it. The conch shell blowing along with the ululation by the Bengali women who have come together at the wedding place play a very significant role in a Bengali marriage. Melodious and grand Shehnai recitals by musicians add to the positive vibes at the marriage venue.
Ashirbaad (Giving blessings) – On this auspicious day, all the elders from the bridegroom’s family visit the bride to bless the bride and the members of the bride’s family go and bless the groom. Trefoil and husked rice are sprinkled on their heads. Gold ornaments are presented. This ritual implies that the boy and the girl have given their acceptance for the wedding.
Aai Budo Bhaat (Party for Bachelorette) – A lavish party is thrown by the relatives and friends of the bride. It helps in fostering community feeling.
Holud Kota – This is a ritual wherein odd numbers of women (either five or seven) gather to grind turmeric and smear the paste on the bride. This helps in adding a glow to the bride’s complexion.
Dodhi Mongol – The bride’s hands are adorned with traditional bangles. This is performed by seven married ladies at the dawn on the marriage day. Typical traditional bangles the Shakha and the Paula – one red pair and the other white bangles are worn by the bride. The bride is fed only curd rice on this day.
Main Wedding Ceremonies
Bor Jatri (Marriage procession) – Bright and new clothes are worn by the groom’s family before proceeding to the bride’s place.
Bor Boron – When the procession reaches the bride’s place, the bride’s mother ushers them and sprinkles the husked rice and trefoil. They are then offered sweets and delicacies.
Potto Bastra – Once they reach the wedding canopy, the groom is presented with new clothes by the person who is going to perform the sampradaan (gift from the girl’s side to the groom).
Saat Paak (seven rounds) – The bride is made to sit on a pidi (low wooden stool). Her brothers lift her and circle the groom seven times. This implies that the bride and the groom are wound securely for an entire life time as well as for seven births.
Mala Badal (Exchanging garlands) – After they have completed the rounds, there is exchange of garlands thrice.
Subho Dristi (Exchanging glances) – After exchange of garlands, the next ritual is when they are made to take a look at each other in front of the invitees.
Sampradan – The bride proceeds to the Chadnatolla. A relative of the bride, an elderly male places her hands on the groom’s hand. Their hands are then knotted with the sacred thread and Vedic chants follow. Their hands are placed on the brass pot which is filled with water and mango leaves. A green coconut is placed above the brass pitcher.
Yagna (Sacred fire) – Both the groom and bride are seated before the sacred fire and vedic chants are chanted by the priest. It is believed that the God of Fire (Agni God) is present to witness the marriage.
Saat Paak (Seven sacred rounds) – The couple complete the seven rounds and the marriage is solemnized.
Anjali – (Offering made to the Fire deity) – The bride’s brother places the puffed rice in the hands of the bride. It is offered by the bridegroom who is standing behind the bride. This is offered into the fire together.
Sindoor Daan and Ghomta (applying of red vermilion on the bride’s forehead) – The bridegroom applies the sindoor on the bride’s hair-parting. She wears the new sari gifted by the groom and covers her head.
The bride then proceeds to her new home along with the groom and his family.