Oriya Marriage Customs and Rituals
An Oriya wedding will have some subtle differences in the rituals that are observed by different castes.
Oriya Hindu Pre-Wedding Rituals
One thing that stands out in an Oriya Hindu wedding is that the mother of the groom does not take part at all in the wedding ceremonies.
In Odisha, there is a strong custom of sending betel nuts to family friends when they are invited for a marriage. In Odisha, Hindu marriages are arranged and fixed by the parents of the couple. There are three important stages in an Oriya Hindu marriage – Nirbandha (fixing) (ନିର୍ବନ୍ଧ), Bahaghara (wedding) (ବାହାଘର) and Chauthi (consummation) (ଚଉଠି
- Nirbandha or the Lagna Dhaara (ନିର୍ବନ୍ଧ) (ଲଗ୍ନ ଧାରା) – This is the engagement ceremony to fix the marriage alliance. The fathers of the groom and the bride take vows by holding sacred articles to get their children to marry each other.
- Nimantrana (ନିମନ୍ତ୍ରଣ) – This is an invitation card that is printed to commemorate a public announcement of the wedding function. As per Oriya customs, the first card is given to the family divinity and in most cases; it is Lord Jagannath (ଲର୍ଡ଼ ଜଗନ୍ନାଥ).
- Mangana (ମାଂଗନା) – This ceremony takes place a day before the wedding and it is held during the afternoon. Guests will bless the groom and the bride and then anoint them with turmeric paste on their face and hands. The bride will then have a ceremonial bath where she is anointed again with turmeric paste by seven married women from her family.
Oriya Hindu Wedding Rituals
- Barajatri (ବରଯାତ୍ରୀ) – The groom along with his entourage arrives in a procession at the venue of the wedding. On arrival, the groom will be greeted with an Aarti and a Tilak. His feet will be washed with coconut water mixed with ghee and honey. It has to be observed that the Oriya Hindu groom will generally wear a kurta and a dhoti and may sometimes drape himself with a white silk cloth called Jorda (ଜର୍ଦା). The bride will usually wear a traditional golden sari with red border and is always adorned with gold jewellery.
- Kanyadana (କନ୍ୟାଦାନ) - This ceremony begins the marriage ritual and it is held on the Vivah Vedi which is a platform decorated with plantain leaves and flowers. This is a customary ritual of handing over the bride to the groom.
- Saptapadi (ସପ୍ତପାଦି) – A customary sacred pyre is lit called hawan while the priests chant the Vedic mantras. Seven heaps of rice grains are worshipped during this ritual. The couple has to take seven rounds around the pyre symbolizing that the god of fire is witness to the union.
- Sindura Daan (ସିନ୍ଦୁର ଦାନ) – The groom applies red vermilion powder on the parting of the bride’s hair and makes her wear bangles or kadas or shankhas on her arms.
- Bahuna (ବାହୁନା) – This is a traditional Oriya custom of mourning through rhythmic songs, sung by old ladies from the family. They tell the tale of how the mother of the bride takes pains of giving birth to her, nurtures her with love and care and finally hands her over to a stranger to take her away to her new house. This happens at the time of Bidaai when the bride gets ready to leave the mandap after the dinner feast.
Oriya Hindu Post-Wedding Rituals
- Gruhaprabesa (ଗୃହପରବେଶ) – The groom’s family gives the bride a ceremonial welcome when she arrives at her new house. She has to tilt over a brass vessel filled with rice grains with her right foot when she enters the house.
- Chauthi (ଚଉଠି) – On the fourth day after the wedding, the bride and the groom visit the bride’s family and the groom spends three days at his in-laws’ place. The night is known as Basara Rati. A puja is held in which a coconut is burnt to roast it inside and it is fed to the couple. The couple is led to a decorated bed with bright Rajanigandha flowers after dinner as this is supposed to be the night of consummation for them.
Oriya Muslim Matrimonial Custom
As in other states, the Muslim matrimonial customs in Odisha are very much the same.
Oriya Muslim Pre-Wedding Rituals
- Mehndi (ମେହନ୍ଦି) – Before this ceremony, a wedding date is finalized and the father of the groom brings a cash token to the father of the bride as part of a custom. Mehndi is a popular tradition that was introduced in the country by the Moghals. It is held a day before the marriage. Intricate designs of henna are applied on the bride and the groom by friends, relatives or in some cases, by professional henna artists.
- Manjhe (ମଂଝେ) – During this function, the bride is anointed with turmeric paste and she wears yellow clothes for the event. She has to remain at home after this ceremony till the day of the marriage, which is usually a day or two after it. </li
Oriya Muslim Wedding Rituals
- Daala (ଡାଳ) – The groom and his family, relatives and friends arrive in a big procession at the venue of the wedding with a Daala that includes clothes and jewellery for the bride gifted by the groom’s family. She has to wear these clothes and jewellery during the marriage ceremony.
- Nikaah (ନିଁକଃ) – This ceremony gets sanctified by a qazi or a religious attorney. He will appoint two male witnesses along with walis or the fathers of the bride and the groom. A mehr (ମେହର) or a dower amount is settled and kept aside for the bride. This is her security amount in case of widowhood or divorce. After the wedding ritual of Ijab-e-Qubul (ଇଯବ-ଏ-କବୂଲ) which is the bride’s acceptance of the groom’s proposal, a Nikaahnama (ନିକାହ୍ନମା) is signed by the couple and the walis. During this ceremony, the men and the women folk are seated separately. The ritual is followed by a dinner which is hosted by the family of the bride.
Oriya Muslim Post-Wedding Rituals
- Valima (ବାଲିମ) – After the marriage function, the bride arrives at her new house and is greeted by the mother of the groom who holds a copy of the Holy Quran over her head as she enters the house. A grand reception dinner is kept a day following the marriage and it is the Valima dinner hosted by the family of the groom.
- Chauthi (ଚଉଠି) – On the fourth day after the marriage, the bridal couple visits the house of the bride and spends three days with her family before returning back to their home.
Oriya Christian Matrimonial Customs
Oriya Christian matrimonial rituals are always conducted in churches amidst gathering of family members, relatives and friends of both the concerned families. Protestants and Roman Catholics have different opinions concerning wedding customs and they have diverse methods of conducting them. In a majority of cases, Oriya Christian weddings are very much the same as you will come across in other states.Oriya Christian Pre-Wedding Rituals
- Engagement (ଇଙ୍ଗାଗେମେଣ୍ଟ) – This ceremony is held either in the bride’s or the groom’s house or in a function hall after an alliance is fixed between both the families.
- Hen Party (ହେଁ ପରଟି ଡ ଥେ ବୃଦଳ ସହୋୱେର) – This is also known as the bridal shower and it is held at the bride’s house. The female relatives of the bride and the groom gather at the bride’s place and celebrate by dancing and singing. They give presents to the bride. The bride makes a strawberry cake for them and hides a small thimble within the cake. Whoever gets this thimble in their slices would have to be the next to get married. A similar function with male relatives is held at the groom’s place and it is known as the Bachelor’s Party (ବଛେଲର'ସଁ ପରଟି).
- Wedding Mass and Homily (ବେଡ଼ଡିଙ୍ଗ ମେସ୍ରେ ଆଣ୍ଡ ହୋମିଲୟ) – On the day of the marriage, the groom sends a car to pick the bride and her family up from her house and bring them to the church. The Best Man receives her at the church with a bouquet of flowers. The couple then walks up the aisle to the altar for the wedding service. The priest delivers a sermon after exchanging of vows and rings and this sermon is known as the Homily (ହୋମିଲୟ) . It concerns the sacred nature of the union of two people through marriage and how the bridal couple should support each other through ups and downs in life. The wedding concludes with the signing of the marriage register by the couple.
- Wedding Reception (ବେଡ଼ଡିଙ୍ଗ ରିସେପସନ) – A Christian wedding in Odisha is generally followed by a lavish reception dinner hosted by the family of the groom. This is a celebration banquet and is a big affair. The couple gets welcomed by guests at the function and they are showered by confetti as they arrive at the venue. The newlywed couple then cuts the wedding cake. The cake cutting is followed by a toast by the Toastmaster in honour of the bridal couple. The function ends with dinner and dancing.