Attending an Assamese Wedding

The day of the main wedding ceremony is most awaited not just by the bride and the groom but by all the guests too. What I particularly enjoyed while attending my friends. Assamese wedding was the fact that every ritual performed tried to include the guests too. So on the wedding morning we were made to get up early and collect in the verandah of the house where a pot of dahi was being readied to be sent over to the bride's place. The bride is supposed to eat a portion of it and send it back to the groom to finish it. The idea that the couple will share everything from now on remains pervasive in an Assamese wedding and I simply adored these age-old rituals for the strong foundation that they seem to be laying. For the wedding function in the evening Aalok was dressed in an off-white silk Kurta and dhoti and had an Assamese gamcha over his shoulders. The bride Anindita wore a gold and yellow mekhela chador. The most resplendent thing about an Assamese wedding for me remained the fact that almost all men wore white or off white dhoti kurta while women were dressed in dull gold and off white mekhela chadors. Having grown up seeing weddings a riot of pinks and reds, this seemed an extraordinarily simple and aesthetic affair.

Back at the groom's house just before the wedding procession is to leave for bride's home there are a few more ceremonies that mark an Assamese wedding. Aalok was made to wear a wreath of flowers and basil leaves. Funnily when the groom gets ready to leave the house his mother is supposed to stop him from doing so. A cloth is hung on the door from which the groom tries to escape but is stopped by his mother. The game is repeated three times after which the groom is allowed to leave as mother gives him blessings. The mother does not accompany the groom and the groom then leaves in a procession along with his friends and family. The function starts at bride's home too, when the bride dressed in fine clothes is made to sit and greet all the guests often with a saunf pot. Just before the baraat arrives she leaves to get dressed in the wedding dress and ornaments sent to her by the groom's family on the day of juroon.

Aalok's baraat has the same energy and enthusiasm I have witnessed in most weddings I attended in Delhi but there is a touch of sobriety with no loud music and cheesy dancing. As we reach the bride's house we are showered with uncooked rice from bride's side of the family. I discover another fun banter in a ritual where the groom's best friend shields him with an umbrella. The game stops when bride's mother comes and welcomes the groom with an arti and amidst sounds of ululations from the side of bride and groom Aalok now enters the bride's place for the actual ceremony to take place.

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