Bhubaneswar: Winters in Odisha are always special for it’s the season of one of the most beautiful of our traditions- weddings! There’s music, there are food and the only time to live the old forgotten rituals.
Change, the only constant, has also found its place in marriage rituals. But there are certain elements which shall always remain the same! Here are some of Odia Bahaghara’s most beautiful picks:
Jai ragada– Biri dal (urad dal) is ground in a millstone, traditionally called ‘chaki’. Married women in the family first worship the millstone and then grind biri dal. It is after this ritual that invitation card (smeared with haldi and chandan on the edges) is offered to Lord Jagannath in Puri and sent to relatives and friends.
Mangan– It is a pre-wedding ritual where the bride-to-be is bathed with seven types of water in the presence of seven married women and haldi paste smeared on her face and body. This ritual symbolizes the onset of wedding rituals.
Mukuta– Bride, and groom both have to wear a crown which is an important wedding costume. Bright and glittery, this crown enhances the entire attire of the couple. These are available both in golden and silver shades.
Baula patta– No matter what the bride wears, ‘baula patta’, a yellow saree with red border, is a must during the wedding rituals. She either has to wear it or put it on her shoulder like a shawl.
Alata– Over the years, mehendi/henna has become an integral of a bride’s make-up. But traditionally, alata was used to colour an Odia bride’s hands and feet. Alata, the colour red, signifies auspiciousness and fertility.
Hastaghanti– This is another important ritual, which is a part of kanyadaan, where bride’s hand is placed on that of the groom’s over a water pot. The hands are tied together and it is the privilege of the bride’s sister to open it, which she does after bargaining for a gift of her liking with the groom’s family.
Sala Bidha– It is one of the fun rituals which do not have a ‘muhurat’. The brother-in-law of groom, punches him on his back. With not too much force though.
Kaudi Khela: A part of the rituals, it is a fun game where a bride hides a kaudi (shell) in her fist and the groom has to open it up using his little finger. The bride makes an attempt to open the groom’s fist in the next round. It is said that the one who wins the game, dominates the married life.
Bhara– When the bride leaves for her in-laws’ place after marriage, usually known as ‘bidaai’, she takes along ‘bhara‘. The cartons of sweets include enormous laddoos, jilapi (jalebi), labanga lata, gaja, and pheni for her new family, relatives, and neighbours.
Marriage is incomplete without bhoji, the feast, which includes a variety of typical odia vegetarian and non-vegetarian food items like chingudi (prawn) ghanta, fish curry, dahi baingan, ambula rai, etc., along with desserts such as ‘kheeri’, ‘rabidi’, ‘paana’ to name a few.