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Sumon_wedding_1 | by Mukul Banerjee (www.mukulbanerjee.com)
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Sumon_wedding_1

Bengali wedding (Bengali: বিয়ে,বিবাহ) includes many rituals and ceremonies that can span several days. Although Muslim and Hindu marriages have their distinctive religious rituals, there are many common Bengali rituals in weddings across both West Bengal and Bangladesh

 

A traditional wedding is arranged by Ghotoks (matchmakers), who are generally friends or relatives of the couple. The matchmakers facilitate the introduction, and also help agree the amount of any settlement.

 

In Muslim marriages another settlement to make which is called 'Mahr' or 'Kabin' to be paid by the groom to the bride - which is a religious requirement.

Bengali weddings are traditionally in four parts: the bride's gaye holud, the groom's gaye holud, the wedding ceremony, and the reception. These often take place on separate days. The first event in a wedding is an informal one: the groom presents the bride with a ring marking the "engagement" which is gaining popularity. This can sometimes be considered as Ashirwaad.

A Bengali Hindu Marriage can be divided into the following parts:

 

Pre-wedding Rituals: Adan Pradan, Patri Patra, Ashirvad, Aai Budo Bhaat, Vridhi, Dodhi Mangal, Holud

Kota, Adhibas Tatva, Kubi Patta, Snan, Saankha Porano

 

Wedding Rituals: Bor Boron, Potto Bastra, Saat Paak, Mala Badal, Subho Drishti, Sampradan, Yagna,

Saat Pak (couple), Anjali, Sindur Daan and Ghomta

 

Post-Wedding Rituals: Bashar Ghar, Bashi Biye, Bidaye, Bou Boron, Kaal Ratri, Bou Bhaat, Phool Sajja, Dwira Gaman

 

Wedding Ceremony

 

The wedding ceremony (Bengali: বিবাহ or বিয়ে bibaho/bie) follows the gaye holud ceremonies. As the wedding ceremony is arranged by the bride's family, much of the traditions revolve around embarrassing the groom. The groom, along with his friends and family, traditionally arrive later than the bride's side. As they arrive, the younger members of the bride's family barricade the entrance to the venue, demanding money from the groom in return for allowing him to enter. There is a bargaining between groom and the bride's family members on the amount of money of the admission. There is typically much good-natured pushing and shoving involved. Another custom is for the bride's younger siblings, friends, and cousins to conceal the groom's shoes for money; to get them back the groom must usually pay off the children. Siblings, friends and cousins also play many practical jokes on the groom.

 

For a Hindu wedding, a priest asks the couple to chant mantras from the holy texts that formalises the following:

 

Kanya sampradaan (Bengali: কন্যাসম্প্রদান konnasomprodan lit. "giving the bride"): the ceremonial giving away of the bride by the father of the bride

 

Saat Paake Ghora Bengali: সাত পাকে ঘোরা (The couple walks round the ceremonial fire seven times. See Saptapadi, Bengali: সপ্তপদী .)''

 

For a Muslim wedding, the bride and groom are seated separately, and a kazi (person authorized by the government to perform the wedding), accompanied by the parents and a witness (Bengali: ওয়াকিল wakil) from each side formally asks the bride for her consent to the union, and then the groom for his.

At this time, for Muslim weddings, the amount of the dowry or mahr is verified, and if all is well, the formal papers are signed, and the couple are seated side by side on a dais. The bride's veil (Bengali: ওরনা or ঘোমটা orna/ghomṭa) is draped over both the bride and groom, and a mirror is placed in front of them. The groom is then supposed to say something romantic on what he sees in the mirror—notionally the first time he has laid eyes on his bride. A traditional answer is to say that he has seen the moon. The bride and groom then feed each other sweets, while the bride's family members try to push the groom's face into the food. All the guests then celebrate the union with a feast.

In Hindu marriages on the day of the marriage (after wedding ceremony is over), close friends and relatives remain awake for the entire night. This is called the Basor Raat. Generally the day on which wedding is held Basor Raat starts after midnight if the wedding ceremony is over by evening. Most Hindu Bengali marriages happen in the evening. The next day, preferably before noon, the couple make their way from the venue to the groom's home, where a bridal room has been prepared.

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Taken on December 11, 2011