Thinking of Assam conjures up images of an exotic landscape with lush valleys, exotic wildlife and the enigma of the orient. Assamese matrimony is an enchanting affair to watch that reflects the culture of this eastern state and for those getting married; it is a fascinating experience that brings them even closer. A traditional Assamese Wedding, also called ‘Biya’ consists of various customs and traditions that are based on the ancient rituals written in the Vedic Texts.
In this ceremony, the mother of the Groom visits the Bride’s home together with the relatives. They are welcomed with a brass plate having a stem and leaves of Betel on it. The whole thing is covered with a Gamocha- a special cloth which is specially woven for the purpose.
- Tel Diya
A main custom, the Tel Diya ceremony is commenced by placing a ring and Betel Nut on the Bride’s hair parting by the Groom’s mother. After this, oil is poured three times on the Betel and Sindoor is applied. The wedding dress including the traditional ‘Mekhla Chadar’ is then presented to the Bride.
- Pani Tola
This is a ritual where the mothers of the Bride and Groom collect Holy Water for the ceremonial bath. The bath, called ‘Nuani’ is another ceremony where the Bride is covered in cosmetic pastes and then bathed in the Holy Water to get ready.
- Ceremonial Bath
An extension of the bath at the Bride and Groom’s place is an interesting and fun-filled ceremony that takes place at their respective homes. After bathing the Bride and Groom are decked up in traditional shawl, jewels and finery.
- Wedding Reception
An extravagant affair, the reception ceremony of an Assamese Wedding takes place before the wedding itself. Families, friends and members of the community are served traditional food that mainly consists of Fish and Meat, right from the appetizers to the main course.
- Arrival Of Groom
The Groom is welcomed with a Rice Shower and his friends and relatives save him from this by holding an umbrella as a ceremonial gesture. But an interesting part is that they can only enter the Bride’s home after paying a price and giving reasons why they want to get married to their girl. The whole affair is very humorous and after that the Groom is welcomed by his future mother-in-law.
- Wedding Ceremony
The Bride and Groom are taken to the wedding venue by the maternal uncle and brother of the Bride. After exchanging flower garlands, the Hindu wedding ritual begins with much fanfare. After taking the vows, the Groom puts Sindoor on the forehead of the Bride and Conch Shells are blown to mark the culmination of the wedding. The newlyweds then receive the blessings from elders and an auspicious time is fixed for their departure.
Post the wedding, the Bride arrives at her in-laws home, where a grand Grah Pravesh ceremony is held for warmly welcoming her. The mother-in-law blesses the Bride and performs a ritual with an aarti to wish her good luck for her married life.