To begin with I must say that I’m never in favor of marriages with lots of rites and rituals. Well its good to be an audience but performing it is quite difficult. The Bengali Hindu marriages are still performed in the traditional ways. Among the Hindus there is a religious book called Panjika , in which auspicious dates for special occasions are written.
After the Pundit finds out that the kundalis of both the bride and groom are matching or they are suitable for each other astrologically, then a special date is selected from the Panjika to fix the date of the marriage. On the day in which the marriage date is fixed both the families exchange sweets. Then follows engagement which may be one year before the marriage or a fortnight before.
On the eve of the wedding day, women from bride’s family rally up to the nearest water body and bring water from there which used to bathe the bride the next day before her wedding. Before wedding is about to take place turmeric is put all over the bride’s body and then she bathes with water brought for her on the previous day.
The marriage process takes almost 3-4 hours to complete, the bride and groom have to move in circles around the holy fire 7 times, in some cases they hold each others hands or sometimes the ghungat of the bride is tied with the chadar of the groom. Then after a few more rituals the groom puts vermilion on the bride’s forehead. You must be thinking that they have been declared man and wife, but unfortunately it takes longer time.
The next day they are again wedded in the same process as the previous day it is called bashi biya in Bengali. In the evening the bride and groom finally go to the grooms house. Their the groom throws a party for his family members and for those who couldn’t attend the marriage, this is called Bou Bhat. After a few more days the bride visits her parents again and thereafter two or three days her husband takes her back to his home.
I might have missed here 2-3 occasions but the importance here is lavishness with which the marriage takes place. The ego problem or show off that Bengalis nowadays have, does no good to them. Even if they are poor they’ll never think about their economic problems before spending in their daughter’s marriage. This is because of our culture or pride. Dowry cases are least visible currently, but still the bride’s parents never act like miser in their daughter’s marriage.