Oriya weddings have their own charm, deeply steeped into the traditions and customs of the soil, reflecting simplicity and warmth. Each ritual is carried out with great humbleness and sincerity with the sole aim towards creating a harmonious bonding between two families.
Immediately after the wedding has been solemnized, a plethora of rituals take place as a part of the celebration. The bride and the groom participate in Kaudi Khela. It’s a ritualistic game wherein the groom first holds the little conch shells or the kaudi in his fist and then the bride tries to open the fist and take the Kaudi. Then the roles are reversed. Post several rounds of this game, the bride’s mother feeds her son-in-law with curd Pakhala with spicy eggplant mash. This ritual is known as Sasu dahi pakhaḷa khia.
Bidding Adieu to the Daughter
In Oriya matrimony, there is a very beautiful tradition of mourning the bride’s departure from her parental house to her new household by singing rhythmic songs. These songs are traditionally called as the Bahuna gita. These songs have been penned by poets unknown and have passed down to generations since time immemorial. These songs talk about the daughter and how she has been an integral part of the household that she is leaving. The undertone of pain and separation is imminent.
Entering the New Household, the Gruhaprabesa
The bride is received and welcomed into the new household through a ritual called Gruhaprabesa. Here the mother of the groom assumes a pivotal role. In Oriya matrimony, the mother of the groom is not supposed to witness the wedding. So she stays back in her home, making preparations to receive the newlywed couple. In Oriya culture, the bride is revered as an incarnation of goddess Lakshmi and she is expected to light up the home and hearth with prosperity and happiness. A pot full of rice is kept at the entrance of the door and the bride tumbles the pot and enters the new household.
4 Days after the Wedding
Immediately after this ceremony and on the fourth day post the wedding, the newlyweds meet each other and partake in the evening puja and the homa or the yagna. Traditionally, a coconut is burnt in the yagna fire and the couple is offered with the roasted coconut flesh is offered as the prasada. This day is known as the Chauthi and the night that follows is known as the Basara rati. This marks the start of a conjugal relationship between the man and his wife. Before the couple retires, the bride lights an earthen lamp or the basara light, a symbol of relationship that glows with mutual respect and love.
On the eight day of the Oriya matrimony, the bride and the bridegroom visit the bride’s household for Asta Mangala. This is known as first formal invitation of the newlyweds as a couple. The couple is handsomely welcomed with gifts and a generous spread of traditional cuisine. Conch shells are blown accompanied by the hulu dhwani. The groom also gifts jewellery and sarees to his bride. This ritual marks the conclusion of the entire marriage ceremony.