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Bihari Wedding

Bihari Wedding

A Bihari wedding can be witnessed in the eastern part of India in the state of Bihar which in comparison to some of Indian states is considered to be backward but it is a also a state which has given some of the best IAS officers and scholars to our country. The people are proud of their rustic and bright lifestyle which is deeply rooted in their traditions. In the past, the wedding celebrations among Bihari’s was a long affair lasting for over a month but today the ceremonies are completed within 45 days.

The wedding is fixed by the elders of the family and the girl and the boy even today agree with their parents decision irrespective of their liking towards that person or not. A Hindu Bihari wedding begins with the Satyanarayan Katha which is organized by the groom’s parents for the groom. Every relative keeps a fast on that day and a sacred fire is ignited which is not be extinguished till the wedding rituals are completed. After this, an auspicious day is decided for the engagement ceremony famously known as Cheka among Bihari’s. On this day 7, 9 or 11 members along with the groom can go to bride’s house with gifts and the prospective bride and the groom exchange rings. The next day, equal number of members visits at groom’s place and present them with gifts. The gift is generally in the form of shagun where the priest along with the bride’s brother, barber and other relatives visit the groom. The brother applies tilak on groom’s forehead and gifts him clothes, gold ornaments and other things for groom’s relatives. This is an important occasion for the groom side as they make preparations such as sumptuous meals for their guests and decorate their house which gives a festive look.

The mother of the groom and the bride grind haldi i.e turmeric paste with their hands and send it for their daughter-in-law and son-in-law respectively. On the lagan mahurat, an auspicious day to start wedding ceremonies, haldi ritual is conducted on both bride and groom’s place where the uptan is applied on bride/groom’s body for their purification. Then again on the wedding day this ceremony is repeated after which they take bath and get dressed for their wedding.

On the same day, the blessings of dead ancestors are taken by performing Dhritdhari and Matripoojan ritual. The groom’s family gifts clothes and cash to their elders for coming and blessing them. After this, the mother of the groom performs an aarti for the groom so that no evil power can harm him and his marital life goes smoothly this ritual is known as Paricchavan. The Bihari groom then leaves for the wedding venue with a marriage procession called as Baraat. When the procession arrives at the venue, bride’s family members welcome all the relatives from groom’s side with garlands. The groom is welcomed by the priest from the bride side who puts tilak on groom’s forehead and the father of the bride then takes him to the stage. The bride then enters and performs an aarti for the groom after which they exchange garlands. Before the next big ceremony which is the mandap ceremony, five female members from the bride side perform a fun filled ritual with the groom where the mother of the bride carries a thaali (big plate) carrying betel leaves, small lighted lamp and small lumps of cow dung. The females then heat the betel leaves and applies it on groom’s face, forehead and eyes at least five times each. Remaining women throw cow dung lumps behind the groom.

The bride and the groom then arrive in the mandap where the Bihari bride is wearing a yellow color saree and the groom is wearing dhoti kurta. Both of them are tied a bracelet made of mango leaves by the priest. The barber then arrives and cut toe nails and finger nails of the couple. After this Kanyadaan ceremony is performed by the father of the bride where he officially gives her beloved daughters responsibility to the groom. The couple then takes seven pheras around the fire and the bride throws rice with a soop into the sacred fire. The groom then applies sindoor (vermilion) on bride’s forehead till her hair and this act is repeated five times. The mangal sutra is then ties around her neck by the groom and the wedding rituals get completed and the newly wed couple takes blessings from their elders.