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Bengali Wedding Ceremony

Pre Marriage Ceremony

Adan Pradan

"Adan pradan" symbolises the Bengali system of a wedding alliance. After the bride and groom approve each other, parents, grandparents and elderly uncles or aunts of both families sit together, and fix up a date for engagement after consulting pundits.

Engagement ceremony takes place a day or two before the actual wedding and can be conducted in the presence of a purohit, at the house of either the groom or the bride. The bride is given a sari, a ring and some other ornaments and presents. The -groom is presented with a ring, gold buttons, a watch and other presents. The bride/ groom take blessings of the elders.

Vridhi Ceremony
In the vridhi ceremony, "puja" is offered to the ancestors. This ceremony is performed in the bride's and groom's houses separately, usually in the morning, by a purohit, a day before marriage. Usually a paternal uncle performs the vridhi.

Dodhi Mangal
This ceremony is also held in both the houses on the wedding day. It is performed at the crack of dawn, before sunrise. Eight to ten married women accompany the couple to a nearby pond. There's they invite the Goddess Ganga to the wedding and bring back a pitcher of water from the pond to bathe the bride/groom. Next, the bride/groom is offered some food. The bride and groom have to observe fast the whole day till the marriage ceremony comes to an end.

The Marriage Ceremony

On the day of the marriage the bride/groom are bathed by applying a paste of turmeric, oil and water. During "snan", both the bride and the groom wear new clothes (sent by each other's family which are later handed over to the barber or napit). The bride is wears "Sankha" (Conch shell bangles). Usually, snan takes place in the evening or late afternoon, depending on the time of the lagna or wedding. After snan, the bride/groom gets ready for the marriage ceremony. The bride is traditionally dressed up in banarasi sari with gold ornaments, a red veil, a mukut, which is pinned to the veil and chandan is artistically applied on the face, in a design of the mukut. The groom is also traditionally dressed in dhoti and kurta. dhoti and kurta.

In Bengali marriage ceremony both he mothers of either side do not attend the marriage. When the groom and his party arrive at the bride's house, they are welcomed by blowing conch shells, ringing bells and ululation. Then, the mistress of the house takes the "baran dala" and touches the plate to the groom's forehead, the ground, and up to the groom again. After repeating this procedure three times, the groom is offered sweets and sharbet. Water is poured on the doorstep as the groom steps into the house. Rituals like "shubho drishti" (this is the time when the bride and the groom see each other) and mala badal (exchange of garlands) take place. Saat paak is a ritual where the bride, usually sits on a low wooden stool called pidi is lifted by her brothers and is taken round the groom in seven complete circles this signifys that they are united. The bride's paternal or maternal uncle gives her away in "Sampradhan". This is followed by "saptapadi", agni sakhi and other rituals. Even while the ceremonies going on, dinner can be served.

Post Marriage Ceremony

After the marriage ceremony is over, the newly weds are brought inside the house, where women round them and several games are played. The next morning, while sitting on the nuptial bed, the groom applies sindoor on the bride's forehead, with a darpan. Then they proceed to the mandap for bashi biye ceremony. Within the mandap, in the presence of the purohit, the Sun God is worshipped and some games are played. Then the bride is given "Bidaai". The groom's mother and sister-in-law welcome the bride. She is given gifts and presents. Till the bou bhat ceremony is over, the bride does not eat any food in her in-laws' house. Her meals usually come from a neighbour's house. In the "bou bhat" ceremony, in the morning after the wedding ceremony, the bride is served food on a new plate. After reception the following evening, the newly wed couple's room, is tastefully decorated with flowers. The bride wears a new sari and the groom wears a dhoti and kurta. The flowers and clothes for this ceremony come from the bride's house with the sweets. After the phool sajja, the wedding ceremonies come to an end.

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