The Assamese is the official language in state of Assam. The people of Assam and majority of North East India speak in Assamese language. Assamese people have vibrant culture and tradition with festivals. Assam is located in eastern Himalayas on the bank of Brahmaputra Valley in North East of India. Assam shares border with West Bengal, Manipur, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Tripura and Meghalaya (Seven Sister States) in India. The people have similarities with culture among the states.
Assamese marriage ceremony (Biya in Assam) is Hindu wedding tradition with pre wedding and post wedding rituals. Let us discuss about the wedding culture of Assam people here.
Rituals before Wedding
The rituals before the marriage are Juran ceremony, Tel Diya custom, Pani Tola and Nuani tradition. Juran ceremony, the groom’s mother goes to bride’s house. The mother of bride greets and gives “Xhorai” brass plate with a stem. Tel Diya function, the groom’s mother gives ring and Betel leaf on the head of her daughter-in-law to be. She pours oil 3 times and applies Sindoor (vermilion) on her hair partition. Then she gives wedding trousseau which includes Mekhla Chadar (Assamese dress for women).
Rituals on Wedding Day
The marriage rituals start with Pani Tola function the bride and the groom make for the ceremonial bath with holy water from nearby river by the respective mothers. Nuani tradition the bride makes bath to prepare her for the wedding ceremony. Groom’s Baraat (wedding procession) finally reaches the bride’s home with his friends and families. Groom’s procession is given permission into the bride’s home after paying a heavy price or gold jewelry gift. The mother of bride welcomes the groom and the sister of bride washes his feet with water. Then brother of bride take the groom to the wedding hall by lifting. The dress of the groom is traditional in Dhoti, Kurta and Silk Shawl of Assam. Then Panchamrit (Mixture of Milk, Ghee, Curd, Honey and Sugar) is given to the bride before going to wedding hall.
The bride makes entry on the shoulders of her maternal uncle to the marriage hall. Wedding ceremony happens in front of the sacred fire with chanting of Mantras by Pandit. Then bride and groom exchange flower garlands and vows to live forever together. After the event, conch shells are blown on the marriage Mandap and the groom puts Sindoor (Vermillion) in bride’s hair partition of forehead. The newly married couple seek blessing of their parents, elder relatives and friends. Finally wedding reception is arranged with delicious foods including fish and meat served to the guests and friends.
Rituals after Wedding
After the marriage ceremony completed, the newly married couple moves to the groom’s house.
Khel Dhemali – The newlywed couple engage in with friendly games like to find a ring hidden in a bowl of rice. From the two, who find the ring first is believed to be stronger say in the marriage relationship.
Maan Dhora – The groom touches the feet of elder relatives of the bride’s family to take their blessing. They offer the groom with clothes, jewelry and cash money as gifts.
Ghor Gosoka – The couple is welcomed by the groom’s mother at the entry of house with traditional Aarti (ritual of Puja). Then bride’s feet is washed with water and enter her new home by breaking a Saaki (Earthen lamp) and finding a ring from water bowl.
After that the bride is taken to prayer room to seek the God’s blessings. She visits of the house with mother-in-law and eats little curd as per tradition. She goes to the house with her husband.
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