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The Pre-Wedding Rituals of a Bengali Marriage

shakha pola bangles

Bengali weddings have their own special charm. Bengali weddings are normally filled with little fun moments and rituals that are homely and mostly conducted by women. The bride with her new shakha pola bangles blushes and participates in these little festivities. The pre-wedding festivities are as much fun as the wedding festivities.

Here are some of the key pre-wedding festivities -

Aiburobhat This can almost be termed as the Bengali version of bridal shower. This takes place much before the actual wedding festivities. Though the official ‘Aiburobhaat’ takes place a day before the wedding, the trend of inviting the bride or groom-to-be for a special lunch by different relatives, by turn, is a much practised norm. Aiburo bhaat actually means the offering of rice/food to a bachelor/spinster. It is the last food they would have as bachelor or spinster. Food, clothings and Indian wedding bangles are given to the new bride. 

Shakha-Pola Porano – The traditional conch and coral bangles – the Shakha and Pola – are given to the bride through a special ceremony. Five women are made to take part in the ritual to help the bride put on the Shakha and Pola. In some customs, this is done the evening prior to the wedding.

Jol Sowa- This is normally done on the wedding day morning before the sunrise. The mother of the bride/groom goes with married women to a water body nearby and fill in a pitcher full of water that is untouched yet by others on that day. This is the water that is used during the Gaye Holud Ceremony to take bath by the bride or the bridegroom.

Dodhi Mangal- On the morning of the wedding day, prior to the sunrise, the bride and the groom are fed on a mixture that consists of flattened rice flakes, sweet curd, banana, sweets, etc. This is to keep them full for the rest of the day, since the practice is to observe a fast till the actual marriage rituals take place.

Briddhi Pujo- This is done to invoke the blessings of the ancestors in respective homes. The male relative or father gives offerings to his seven generations with the accompaniment of chants. This way they seek blessings of the forefathers and pay respect to them.

Gaye Holud – Fresh turmeric is ground and a paste is made along with oil for application on the bride and groom. Married women in odd numbers take part in the ritual. The bride and the groom is applied the paste. Normally the ceremony first takes place at the groom’s place. The turmeric is touched to his body and then the turmeric paste along with dresses for the bride, her relatives, sweets, savouries and a large, whole fish is taken to the bride’s place.The bride is then smeared with this turmeric and then given a bath.

The Gaye Holud is the final pre-wedding festivity that takes place before the marriage. Following the Gaye Holud, the actual marriage ceremony takes place.

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