Friday, July 13, 2012

Wedding Days- III

It were the main wedding rituals that made for the most fun. There was this 'Bibaha Bedi' or a dais made  of mud decorated with flowers on which sat first the bride's father and the bridegroom and subsequently the bride and her father followed by the bride and the bridegroom all with one priest from each side. What is remarkable is that the bridegroom's mother doesn't participate in the wedding ceremony. What it means is, she stays back and is not a part of the Barajatri! 

Feeling terribly sleepy, I couldn't catch up with every single ritual but had told my Mom to explain in details whenever any 'game' was being played. Yes, we have games during the wedding itself! 
First one was opening the 'hathaganthi' by the bride's sister. The bride and the bridegroom hold hands which are tied by sacred thread and the bride's sister is called upon to open it after a few mantras have been chanted. She can make any demand which the bridegroom has to fulfill or promise to fulfill soon and it is only then that the knot is released. Usually this opportunity is utilised very wisely but my Mami's sister turned out to be too good and made no material demands.  

Next thing interesting was the 'Kaudikhela'. Kaudi or white colored shining shells are given to the bride and the bridegroom one after the other. The bridegroom first holds a Kauḍi in his fist and the bride tries to break the fist and does it by two of her hands. In the next round the bride makes a tight fist with the Kauḍi inside and the bridegroom tries to open her hand with only his little finger. It was a draw as neither Mamaji nor Mami could manage to win.

There was a contest between the two fathers as well. Taking turns, one person had to distribute a fixed number of kaudis between his two hands, behind his back and make fists. The other person had to choose one fist of the two. The first one then had to disclose how many kaudis the fist held. Again it was a draw leading the bride's father to flash a child like smile and say hurrah! It was followed by a declaration by both the fathers that they will each forgive 10 mistakes of their daughter-in-law/son-in-law as applied.

At the end, the relatives of the bride presented the bride and the bridegroom with gifts on the 'Bedi' which was followed by 'Bahuna' or mourning by singing songs. The wailing bride could hardly manage to walk by herself and we had a hard time getting her inside the car that sat the bridegroom, the Markundi and the bride's brother who was to stay with her for the next 3 days. It was a  sorry spectacle and I noticed tears in my Mom's eyes which suddenly made me feel shaky and vulnerable. Not a good feeling at all.

Continue reading- Wedding Days- IV
Previous posts in the series- Wedding Days- IWedding Days- II

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