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The people of the state of Orissa have a very nice wedding ceremony that is solemnized by the parents of the bride and the groom with many rituals conducted as a part of it. The Oriya Brahmins generally conduct their marriage ceremonies in the mornings while the other castes do it as per the auspicious time that suits the couple. Both the bride and groom wear traditional Oriya dress with the bride wearing red, maroon or bright magenta sarees and the men wearing either white or off white dhotis. There is more focus on dress and jewelry in an Oriya Wedding just like most other Indian marriages.
This is the first and foremost activity when the marriage gets fixed. The parents of the bride and the groom print the invitation and start the distribution to their relatives. The first invitation is presented to the family deity – the kuldeva of the bride and the groom. Most of them generally place it at the feet of Lord Jagannath in Puri. Once this is completed, the cards are given to the maternal uncles of the bride and groom and then to the other relatives.
Nirbandh or Engagement
The father of both the bride and the groom promise each other that their children will soon be man and wife and celebrate the occasion more or less like an engagement. This is called Nirbandh and is performed only by the father of the couple.
Mangan for the Bride
Just like in most North Indian wedding the Oriya bride is also blessed abundantly by older married women and the turmeric paste is applied all over her body. Once the turmeric smearing is done, they bathe the bride as per the traditional customs.
Pooja At the Temple of the Devi
The bride, her wedding saree and other jewelry like bangles and toe ring are all kept in front of the idol of the Devi in a bid to take her blessings for a long marital bliss. This is offered by the lady barber and the bride is also present when the prayers happen.
Rituals Performed in Oriya Wedding
The Groom’s Arrival - Barajatri
The bridegroom and his party arrive in style at the hall where the wedding ceremony is meant to take place. Drums are beaten and music is played when the groom arrives and the women on the bride rush outside to greet the party and welcome the groom by lighting lamps and putting a tilak on his forehead and welcoming him inside.
The bride is decked in all her jewelry and fine clothes in bright colors for the once in a life time affair. Traditionally like most Indian brides the Oriya brides also wear sarees in bright colors like red, orange or pink that signifies prosperity and wealth and arrives at the marriage hall where the marriage ceremony will be performed.
The stage where the marriage is going to be held is all decorated with bright flowers and garlands to give it a very auspicious look. There are seven mounds of rice that are heaped in the stage and these denote the seven mountains. The bride and the groom are made to sit next to each other and prayers are offered to the seven mounds of rice and to the seven kulaparvada. The father of the bride then takes the hand of his daughter and offers it to his son in law in an act denoting that he is offering his prized possession to be taken care of well. The groom ties the mangal sutra and applies the sindoor over the forehead of the bride amidst chanting of prayers from all the relatives who have gathered in the marriage hall.
Offering Puffed Rice in the Holy Fire
The bride is considered to be the manifestation of Ma Laxmi and hence, she is supposed to bring a lot of luck and prosperity to the groom in their life together. In an effort to increase the luck and good will, the bride and the groom keep their hands together and the bride’s brother offers them puffed rice which will be put into the holy fire as a custom. This is called Haatha Ghanta Custom.
Immediately After Marriage
The newly married bride then leaves her ancestral home and bids every one of her relatives a teary farewell as she steps out to her new home and her new life with her husband. The mother of the groom who does not take part in the marriage welcomes them in to the new home and performs the Grihapravesh for the bride and welcomes her into her new home.