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Bangladesh is an enriched country in culture and traditions. Interestingly in every walk of life, you are going to observe the variety of culture. It is due to the mixture of different country people having different religions, values, norms and behaviour. In fact, it is said that Bangladesh is a land of culture.
Bangladeshi wedding is a great example of its enriched diverse culture. In marriage ceremonies. Food, entertainment & customs reflect the beauty of this mixed society.
Bangladeshi wedding is rooted in tradition. Among the different cultures the most prominent culture is the Muslim culture. Still, the tradition of Muslim marriage ceremony has changed over the past years.
There are 16-18 different programs combine in a traditional Bengali wedding. Every single program is full of colour and culture.
In our elegance, matrimony is just not a holy bond of two opposite sex, but the kinship of two families. A few years ago the trend of being the bonding was so dense that the family members together decide the match. In effect of this kind of marriage, the bride and the groom come to see each other for the first time on their wedding day. Which may be shocking for some culture.
Nowadays this tradition is no more visible in society. The generation has other ways to find or choose their own life partners. Some people are even finding their life partner in social media.
Usually, the custom starts with the matchmaker called “ghotok”. This person plays a vital role in every wedding for making matches. Ghatak can be a man or a woman. He/she elicits everything about both families, like their family history, Educational qualifications, family status, standards, family members, religion etc. And they move the words forward for the next step. Professional ghotok/ matchmakers take money otherwise it’s sometimes not necessary when the person is someone close to the bride/ groom. Yet there is a custom to give gifts to the ghotok from both families.
After matchmakers fill their duties, there’s a programme held. Where boys & girls meet each other for the first time. On this meeting girls attire themselves by wearing traditional saris and boys dressed up formal. On this day the groom’s family visits brides home & make some agreement before finalizing their decision. That’s why this ceremony also is known as “paka kotha”.
An official engagement ceremony takes place after finalizing nuptial bond. Where both families invited their closest relatives and friends. Then both groom & bride exchange their rings with each other. After that, elders offer sweets to the bride & groom including to the guests. This ceremony is also known as “pan chini” and it is a tradition in Bangladesh to give betel leaf (pan) & betel nut (supari) to the guests.
Finishing the engagement ceremony, both family starts their preparation for the next events. They invite relatives, friends, neighbours and dear people. Usually, both the families try to invite as many people as possible with a beautiful invitation card. The invitation card is known as wedding cards. This card is delivered physically to show their love and respect. Nowadays this tradition is changing as people are becoming techier. People are inviting their guests by phone calls or post it on social media.
Before the pre-wedding ceremony, there are 2 rituals called sangeet & Ruhi fish. In sangeet relatives and friends plays a very important role as they sing songs, plays party songs and regenerates the spirit of the ceremony. Sometimes professional singers or dancers are hired to enlighten the culture night.
On the morning of the holud ceremony, the groom’s family send a pair of Ruhi fish to the bride’s house. Groom’s family attire the fish with a red-colored sari another one with a lungi to create prankish look. Bengalis are known as “mache bhate Bengali”. Fish is an important part of the culture. Fish symbolizes good luck and prosperity, the gesture of the groom’s family gifting the bride is their way of extending their wishes for her happiness. As she embarks upon this new journey. The size of the fish, flaunt the breadth and lineage of the groom’s family. The fish is cooked on holud ceremony and distributed among intimate guests.
After finishing all the ceremonies, the main pre-wedding customs begin. Before decades it was just a family trade where only women would take part in the function. Nowadays people of all ages and gender takes part in this ceremony. Both bride and groom seat beside & relatives come severely as a couple or single. They exfoliate the bride and the groom with the turmeric paste or other herbal ingredients. The trousseau of gifts and sweets are carried wrapped & packed beautifully based on a theme. Relatives and friends give a magical touch to make them more creative or to present them in a stylish manner.
On the henna ceremony, professional henna artists come & decorate brides hand & feet very beautifully by creating different patterns. There is a saying that “the better the colour of henna, the stronger the love between groom and bride”. Along with the bride, many females also put henna on their hands enjoying the moment with the fullest enthusiasm. They play music and dance together to create a memory to celebrate the joyous moment.
Wedding ceremony held in the brides home in the morning before the function begins. This ceremony is driven by the kazi. The Kazi recite from the holy Quran & thereafter the proposal & acceptance take place. Then the families fix the amount of “Mahar” the mandatory gift that the groom has to pay to the bride. After that, both bride and groom have to sign legal documents. The book is called ” Nikah Nama”.
At the evening or afternoon, the”Bor Jatra” or groom’s journey begins. This journey begins with a special prayer. The groom gives salam to everyone and receives blessings. Then the groom’s have to drink a glass of milk. Traditionally the groom is landed down his father’s turban material for good luck. This nuptial step towards wedlock is very auspicious to the groom’s family. Then groom seat on a car which is beautifully decorated with colourful flowers. Then he starts his journey towards the function. The bride wears a traditional wedding dresses & looks like a queen. After getting ready bride arrives in the function & wait for the groom.
When the groom arrives, the young cousins & friends of the bride ask for the prize money at the gate before the groom enters the wedding venue. This is taken as a form of gifts from the groom and is actually very fun. After giving the prize money groom enter into the wedding venue. The venue organised by organizers depends on particular themes as regal, classic, modern, vintage etc.
Guests arrive severely with gifts for the couple. They seat gradually, have some chit chat and meet each other with great joy. They also enjoy the delicious meal full stomach. The bride and groom take part in the photography of the special event with the guests to make the special day memorable. Then they finish their meals. After finishing the meal, it is customary for the bride’s father to hand over the bride to the groom. Which is a highly emotional moment for the bride’s family.
In wedding night, it is a tradition to decorate the groom’s bedroom with flowers, lights and fragrance to make strings certain & the bed looks like a bed of flowers. The first night is called “Bashor rat”.
Post-wedding reception held by the groom’s family. This ceremony also called ” Bou Bhaat”. On this occasion, the groom’s family invited their closest relatives and introduce them to the newly married couple & their family friends. It is also an opportunity to show hospitality to the bride’s family. On this occasion, guests offer gifts to the newly married couple. After finishing the programme the married couple went brides home & stay there for 3-4 days. On the 2nd day, the groom has to buy groceries for in-laws house & his mother in laws cooks them with love for launch. It’s a family tradition.
On honeymoon, the newly married couple spent some time together immediately after the wedding to start their innings. After all of the hassle, newly married couple get some time for themselves to celebrate in destination considered exotic or romantic place.
Special Thanks to Anika Apu for the wonderful choreography also teaching us how to dance and for the encouragement also for allowing us to be the young adult 🙂 Also thanking Afsana Apu and munim for your warm speech. Finally thanks to the wonderful audiences for appreciating our dances. A big thanks to everyone!
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