Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Pani Tula and Nuani Tradition....Assamese Wedding Rituals

The wedding day started here with the groom's dad performing NAU-PURUSH SHARADHA(a special ceremony in honor of last nine generation ancestors from the groom's father side and the last three generations from the mother's side).It is like presenting the departed souls an invitation to this auspicious ceremony.Here you can see groom's dad performing the ritual according to vedic rules.
After the Shradha all the family members seek blessings from the priest to start the other rituals.Now you can see the ladies of the family preparing for PANI TULA which means collecting the sacred water for the ceremonial bath of the groom.This ritual is followed by both the sides.The bride wears a mekhela-chadar set presented by the groom's mom specially for this ritual and after the rituals she never wears that set again,it is left back or gifted to someone else.
Groom's mom and the other women mostly relatives and friends go to a river or a pond nearby to collect the water.A DULONI (a brass stand as you can see cousin of the groom holding in the picture above) is prepared which contains a lighted saki (lamp) over a heap of the same rice grain which was brought back from the bride's house during JURAN ceremony,one pair of tamul-pan(betel nut and leaves), a coin and a knife.Five earthen vessels covered with five mango leaves are needed - the main vessel is carried by the groom's mom and the other four by the other relatives.Ladies sing biya naam(wedding songs) and uluni(a special sound made by rolling the tongue inside the mouth).The group the proceeds to the river or the pond.
I don't have the picture where they collect water as i stayed back but i can tell you what happens there.On reaching the river/pond groom's mom takes the permission of the river to collect water by bowing .Here as the mother asks for the water another lady acting as the river questions her ..WHY HAVE YOU COME HERE? The mother replies MY SON IS GETTING MARRIED ,NEED WATER FOR HIS BATH FROM YOU.Again the lady questions WHAT YOU SAW ON YOUR WAY ?The mother replies I SAW LORD SHIVA AND GODDESS PARVATI getting married.Now the mother takes the knife in her hands and crosses the water thrice before filling her vessel with the water....all the five vessels are filled at the same time.Once done the group returns without looking back at the river site.
You can the see the group returning back to the house.The groom's mom sprinkles little water from the vessel at her house .Now they all go to the place where NUANI(ceremonial bath) takes place.
The groom follows his mom by holding an end of a GAMOSA(a traditional cotton cloth) while his mom holds another end.The group takes few rounds around the KOL-PULLI(a freshly planted banana tree),now the ladies keep the vessels on the ground and the groom sits on a special asana(seat).
The ceremony starts with the mother applying oil ,curd and a paste of haldi-mah(turmeric and urad lentils) the same process is followed by all the ladies present .Once this round is completed the groom's mom pours the sacred water from the vessel over the groom's head and again this process is followed by all the ladies present.WE smear the curd and the paste on each others face too.
After the bath groom wears a fresh set of cloth and seeks blessing of his mom and all the other ladies present.Within few hrs. the groom proceeds towards the bride's home for the main wedding ceremony.


Saturday, December 12, 2009

Thank You Speak Bindas

I was interviewed by Devang Vibhakar for his popular site visit the interview(click here) and let me know what you think of it.Have a great weekend ......all of you !!!Thank you !

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Juran .....Assamese Wedding Rituals

Well lets get ready for Juran a very interesting,fun filled pre marriage ceremony carried out one or two days before the wedding.It is going to be a long post even though i have tried to keep it as trimmed as possible.This ritual is performed by women.Here the groom's mom visits  the bride's house accompanied  by close relatives and friends.A function like this takes a lot of time and effort..Groom's mother gifts  the bride a lot many things on this day  right from the MAIN BRIDAL TROUSSEAU including an odd number of pairs of Mekhela Chadar(traditional assamese female attire,three piece in case of the main trousseau and two piece in case of an average) to  a complete make up kit(whoa),scented hair oil,a perfume,golden ornaments,sindoor(vermilion),a mirror,hair brush or comb etc.For other rituals two sets of things like coconut,doi(yougurt),two earthen pots filled with rice grains,a big fat fish,sweets or mithais,tamul and tamul paan bunch(betel leaves and nuts),haldi and urad daal for another ritual(it is used to bathe the bride and the groom at a later ritual).Once they reach the bride's house the groom's mom is welcomed by the bride's mom at the gate with a XORAI or BOTA in her hands which contains tamul-paan covered by a Gamosa.Some welcome the groom's mom by using a hand fan or bisoni and some using two paan leaves as shown here.Ajoli aunty(groom's mom) is being welcomed by Runjun's(bride's pet name) mom.My m.i.l and my husband attended this ceremony ....bride's home is in Tejpur a place four hours away from Guwahati.
Once inside the pandhal(tent),groom's side places a mat or a carpet on the floor which they bring along.A lamp and incense sticks are lighted(this too is brought by groom's side) .The groom's mom spreads few rice grains on the mat while the other ladies sing BIYA NAAM(weeding songs) and chant ULUNI(a traditional sound made by the women by rolling their tongue in their mouth....Sujata and Aparna i think you know what exactly it is).The bride arrives - her face and head covered by chadar ,she is accompanied by her friends and relatives.She sits near the groom's mom or from now on her mom-in-law.Aunty applied sindoor by using a ring to the bride's forehead and the hair parting.From now on she wears sindoor...if i am right Assam is the only place where a girl sports sindoor before her actual wedding takes place.Now the fun part begins..........
TEL-DIYA(tel means oil,diya means apply) aunty placed a bettle nut on bride's head over which the scented oil was applied on her parting thrice(she was extra careful not to disturb the bride's hair setting).
Now aunty and a couple of other ladies made the bride wear all the ornaments they had brought....i omitted those pictures because post was getting extra long) .The make up kit is opened ,little make up just for the name sake is applied ,scent is applied too -once done aunty took out the main Bridal- Trousseau which is always a white and golden mekhela chadar and reeha set and presented it to the bride as you can see here in this picture.The bride is shown her face on the looking mirror which groom's mom brings.But the bride is not allowed to carry this mirror along with her to the groom's house after they get married.Don't ask me why?It was very painful for me to part with mine as it was a silver framed beautiful my sister has it..huh..
In the picture below you can see all the clothes,gifts,etc presented to the bride.Now the bride is made to touch all the things like coconut,betel nut/leaves,yogurt(doi),rice,fish,haldi-mah....all these things are equally divided in two parts one is left behind to the bride's house another is carried back.The earthen pot is half filled by the rice grains given by the bride's side.
Bride's mom is gifted with a pair of Mekhela Chadar and a packet full of raw ingredients of a complete meal by the groom's mom as a token of thanks and gratitude for looking after their daughter for all these years so as now she is ready to leave their house.Touchy na?
Now many families keep the ornaments on this Bota and show it to all the people present.Before the refreshments and the meal is served groom's mom introduces the bride to all the elders and other people present ...the bride touches the feet of the elders ,in return elders gift her with any ornaments or in many cases money too.After the lunch groom's family returns back to their home..

 The next time when we meet i am going to tell you about Pani tula and the main marriage ceremony...till than take care. ....

Blog Updated :  Received this as a comment by reader Indrani Bordoloi .She says
Dear Indian Yarn,

In Assamese Culture white or off-white golden Baize mekhela -sador has very very significant role. Traditionally a married woman prefares to wear a white gold zari work assam silk mekhela sador only during anu Jurun ceremony of any bodies marriage. While again The Bridal Trousseau should be in white+gold combo for the actual wedding even I guess Assam is the only state where bride and bridegroom both wears the white golden costume for their actual wedding. Traditionally is believed that its glitters the colors like goldenish yellow which is a color of Vishnu or Krishna... typically Assamese follows Vaishnasim. interestingly in their wedding day the bride and the groom treats as Price and Princess also white reflects the symbol of purity and freshness significantly welcoming to their new life.

Well we have similarities wd Bengali Wedding becoz geographically again its our neighboring state.Like in Bengli have Kaal-ratri after the actual wedding we have Bahi-Biya where after the wedding when bride comes to grooms house the next day for the whole day nobody can see each others face, for the rest of the day or the next day when the Khuba-Khubuni will take place (Reception at grooms place)the following night is call Subha-Ratri or Madhu-milaan or 1st night :) Typically Yes the story of Beula-Lakhindaar has been believed that how Lakhindar dies after the snake bite on their 1st nyt and how Beula had go through tremendous pain and struggle to return his life back from Death God in West Bengal so being a neighboring state Assam also got influenced by the mythology and also it has been believed that after the wedding if none of the bride and groom can't see each other for one whole day the chemistry sparks basically in arranged marriages and they eagerly waits for the first night where a understandable and compromising life can ahead with love and care.

Putting vermilion into brides forehead by MIL is again has significant in Assamese tradition only instead of the groom the grooms mother puts vermilion on brides forehead or some times in absence of MIL any elderly lady do that (aunts ~Grooms) significantly before the Jurun Ceremony where all the gift specially cloths and Jewelries suppose to gift the bride along with the bridal trousseau that she has to wear in actual wedding all these items groom has to touch signifies that "not only I'm marrying u ..but with good grace and god and elders I'm accepting u as my wife and my whole family members and other relatives are welcoming u to our home and family. In jurun ceremony groom can't go or no young men are allowed to go accept very few elderly men from grooms side along with the ladies. Jurun is basically si ladies function.
Unlike Saree Mekhela-Sadors are in two pairs.

Kabita well written

Monday, December 7, 2009

Dulor Biya...A Glimpse Of A Traditional Assamese Hindu Kalita Marriage

Across the length and breadth of our country India we see many similarities as well as variations in the customs followed during a wedding.Last two weeks have been very hectic for us as Dul was getting married.Now let me take this opportunity to introduce you to Dul(a pet name),our families have been neighbours as well as friends for the last three generations.Once the invitation list is prepared the family starts inviting people personally,so it takes about a month or so to carry out the process.The wedding cards are very simply designed and written mostly in Assamese language and sometimes an additional English translation is added too.Traditionally the card or CHHITHI is presented along with two Paan Leaves (Betel leaf) and a Tamul(Tambul or Betel Nut) placed on a Horai or Bota(a brass metal stand) as shown above.
.Let me explain you that a wedding out here is a whole neighbourhood affair....for the last two weeks we all worked together and had fun together like a big happy family.Now a days most of the families book a Banquet or a Marriage Hall but it has been Burrah Da's(Dul's dad,he is popularly known by this name but i prefer calling him Uncle) dream to solemnise this marriage right from their home as they are fortunate to have a very large open compound .A big tent was erected a week ahead to accommodate 800 -900 guests for the reception after the weeding.
The tent was divided in two parts one was the sitting area and the another for serving the Buffet i.e. the eating area.It took two days to complete this structure.You can see these men working on it from such a height with out any support.Bamboo was used for the frame work and thick cotton cloth strips to hold them together,later it was covered by a water proof covering and interior was done just three days before the wedding.
This whole week i will bring to you different pre -wedding and post wedding rituals observed during DUL'S BIYA meaning Dul's Marriage.See you all in my next post.