Assamese Wedding Rituals

Just as in all Indian cultures the girl's side of the family gives the groom a lot of respect, the Assamese wedding too follows the same tradition of holding him in reverence. After the baraat enters the bride's house, the bride's mom asks the groom, Aalok to stand on a low height stool. Next we see bride's younger sister comes to wash the groom's feet in a mark of respect. But the sister's service comes with a price, as Aalok has to pay a princely sum before he can go inside to wed his bride. The fun banter over how much the groom will pay continues just as it happens in most North Indian weddings too. Once the younger sisters are happy, its now time for groom to get his share of love. The bride's brother now carries the groom to the wedding venue on his shoulders. Once the groom is seated it's time for the bride to make her grand entry. Her maternal uncle lovingly carries the bride to the altar as the ladies from both the families sing ululations and conch shell is sounded to bring in positive vibrations. Its now time for Aalok and Aninidita to exchange the garlands made of flowers and some leaves.

Now is the time for one of the most important ceremonies of the evening –the konyadaan. The bride and the groom are made to sit along with their fathers around the sacred fire. The bride's brother hands over puffed rice to her, which the couple jointly offer to the fire. Now the bride and groom take the pheras or the customary encircling of the fire and complete 7 rounds. After the pheras are over, the bride is supposed to keep her right foot on the 7 betel leaves that are arranged near the sacred fire. The couple is now tied in the wedlock.

In an Assamese wedding the fun does not end with the marital rituals being completed. While the wedding feast is now opened up for the guests, the bride and the groom indulge in some fun games. The Assamese wedding feast is another example of simplicity and love. Instead of a never ending buffet the food is often traditional and includes only a few dishes that are the key delicacies. If like me you get lucky to attend an Assamese wedding, do not forget to have your fill of Hilish Maach with bhaat. After a wholesome meal we join the bride and the groom where they were busy finding a ring hidden in a pot of rice. Since Anindita was the one who found it first the ladies announced that it's her who is going to be having a stronger say in the marriage. After a few such fun games its now time for the groom to take blessings from the elders while also offering them gifts showing his gratitude. The bride is now being readied for the bidaai ceremony. As emotional as it sounds, bride teary eyed bids a farewell to her maiden home to start a new journey in her husband's home..

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