Bengal has always been very rich in culture which is easily visible in literature, poetry, movies, music, food, lifestyle, clothing, and many other. This richness of customs and traditions and greatly visible during occasions. One big occasion in every individual’s life is - MARRIAGE. The celebrations goes on for a couple of days followed by several rituals. Even the smallest ritual has its own cultural importance.
This is a formal announcement of alliance between the two families so wedding preparations can start. Paka-dekha is celebrated on a day when both families convene at either side's home to fix the final date and time of day (the lagno) of the marriage, and entertain any demands made by the groom's family in order to ensure that the bride's future is well assured. Sometimes priests may also officiate, documenting the marriage's specifications for legal/government purposes, and setting the details on paper (or in current-day digital form) and signing it from both sides' present eldest guardians. Videography or static photography can be used to record the details for posterity in lieu of paper documentation.
After all the legal formalities, everyone enjoys with sweet rasgullas and 'misti-doi' (yogurt).After this, an elder married women from both side make public announcements of this auspicious alliance in their localities. Announcement is preceded by trumpeting a conch shell.
The engagement ceremony is often held like a get together between close families of potential bride and groom. The elders meet the couple here, shower their blessings and give gifts to them with affection. It basically confirms an alliance between the two families.
Aashirwaad or blessing ceremony is held at both the places. At the girl’s house as well as at boy’s house. Its organized a month before wedding. The girl’s family visit boy’s family but the girl isn’t allow to accompany them and vice-versa. The girl comes nicely dressed up and greets everyone. A tikka of sandalwood is applied on girl’s forehead. Its considered to be very auspicious on occasion. Then a big dish(thali) filled with wheat, rice, sandalwood etc. is placed on girl’s forehead. Similar happens with guy as well.
Girl and guy are fed with lots of sweets till few minutes before dawn of wedding day. Both, the bride and groom are not allowed to eat anything till the marriage ceremony gets over.The women from both family go to near river or any holy waterway place to get water for marriage rituals. They even pray to goddess to give her blessings to bride and groom and the marriage ceremony goes well in her presence.
t begins with Nandi-mukh. Its a pooja performed by either elderly males under supervision of some priest or elder member of family. They pay tribute to passes away ancestors to give blessings to the bride and groom. The Haldi is applied on both bride and groom to soften their skin and give a natural glow.
The groom’s side of family brings Haldi to bride followed with Wedding attire/ sweets/ gifts or anything the guy’s family wants to give to bride. They even bring a Rohu fish decorated as bride, and same happens with groom as well.
5 or 7 women dressed in orange color attire make turmeric paste. They encircle around the bride/groom, apply Haldi and chant mantra and sprinkle the water they brought in the morning from river or waterway. A small stage is made for bride/groom. The stage is made with banana stems placed vertically forming it as a four pillar. Later, the bride is feasted with a lot of sweets.
Time for bride to begin her new life and say adieu to her parents and family and have their blessings. Its a mix of emotions of joy for beginning of new life and sorrow for leaving the existing family.
After the welcome ceremony of couple at groom’s house, they are separated for a night. According to Manasamangal Kavya, the very day Behula’s husband was bitten by a serpent, so from that day bride and groom stay separately for a night giving time to relax and refresh for next day ceremonies.
On second day, the girl cooks for entire groom’s family. Mainly, she makes rice and serves with ghee. Its followed by reception in the evening where all the distant relatives, friends and families are invited and bride is introduced to them.
Then later that night, bride and groom are left alone in a room decorated with flowers to spend sometime alone.
On the eighth day of marriage, a Satyanarayan puja is held by the groom's family, in which the newly wed couple, in their wedding attires, are blessed by the purohit and prayers are offered to bless the couple with a happy family.
After the Pooja, the couple leave for bride’s house where they are feasted relentlessly. They open their Gatbandhan there, which was tied during wedding. The couple stays for around 3 days.