What a Bangladeshi wedding is all about
Beautiful, gorgeous colors, exotic foods and a large family gathered together is what makes a Bangladeshi wedding the glorious affair it usually is. If you have ever attended a Bangladeshi wedding, I am sure you will agree with me wholeheartedly! The only sad part is that a traditional Bangladeshi wedding used to be a seven day long affair at one point of time, with the entire village gathering at the venue to take part joyously in all the ceremonies associated with the wedding. Today, this has been cut down to a mere four days, but with the escalating costs, one cannot expect anything more, am I right?
Interesting Matrimonial Traditions
I am sure you have all heard of the numerous matrimonial traditions that go with a typical Bangladeshi wedding. The first day of the wedding ceremony is known as the ‘Gaye Holud’, which is the day that the bride and everyone around her is smeared with the golden yellow turmeric paste specially prepared for the wedding. Everyone present at the ceremony is expected to adorn themselves in yellow cloth as a sign of participation and great enthusiasm. All Bangladeshis follow this quaint matrimonial tradition wholeheartedly. Sweets are brought to the bride by the groom’s family, and the bride is fed these sweets lovingly by the relatives present.
The next day, referred to as the ‘Gaya Holud’ involves the same tradition, but this time, it is meant for the groom and his family. The guests this time round will wear green, red, orange and yellow, and the bride’s family will bring for the groom the groom’s outfit, as well as sumptuous treats and sweets.
The third day is the actual wedding day, when the families and friends of the bride and the groom gather together with great excitement for the ceremonies to begin. One of the remarkable Bangladeshi matrimonial Hindu traditions at this point is that the priest in charge of conducting the wedding ceremonies examines the ancestral lineage of both the sides so that there is no linking of similar lines.
Now, back to the actual wedding day in a Hindu family. As the sun rises over the day, the bride and the groom are escorted separately by the married women in their respective families to a pond, where the Goddess Ganga is formally invited for the wedding. A large pitcher of water is collected for the bride and the groom to bathe in; the bride is dressed, and then veiled until the evening, which is when the groom arrives at the bride’s home. He comes accompanied by a great cacophony of bells, blowing of conch shells, and shouts and laughter. The traditional wedding ceremony is conducted by the priest, who chants the Holy Mantras to unite the bride and groom in holy matrimony. Later, the reception or ‘Bou-Bhaat’ is held by the groom’s family, and the new bride is expected to cook for her parents and relatives!
In a typical Bangladeshi Muslim family, the matrimonial ceremony is held at a large hall, where the registration book is signed by the bride and the groom, separately and from different locations. This ceremony takes place in the presence of a government official or Kazi and a religious person. The wedding or ‘Nikaah’ is thus solemnized. After the matrimonial ceremonies are complete, food is served to the guests. The groom is then escorted to the room to sit next to the bride. There is great joking and laughter until it is time for the bride to leave. The ‘Bou-Bhaat’ or the bride’s feast takes place a few days later, where the new bride blushingly cooks a feast and serves her parents and relatives with her own hands!
The bride now has to prepare for leaving her parental home and entering her husband’s home. She leaves her home amidst tearful farewells to her parents and relatives, and she enters her husband’s home for the first time where several guests would have gathered already in readiness to welcome her and make her feel at home.
Bou Baran is the traditional welcome of the bride into the groom’s home, when the bride dips her feet into a plate of lac dye and then steps across the threshold into her new life. This is celebrated with a lot of gaiety and fun and all round merriment, and can only be described as a fascinating Bangladeshi Hindu matrimonial tradition, symbolizing Goddess Lakshmi’s entry into the home.
These then are some of the matrimonial Bangladeshi traditions, and I personally make it a point to never miss attending one if possible. The gorgeous clothes, jewelry, the ceremonies, and best of all, the food: all these are things never to be missed at any cost. So, next time you are invited, you know what to do. Bring out your best clothes, and make a beeline for the wedding; you’ll enjoy it tremendously; I always do! 🙂