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Assamese Wedding

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Introduction of Assamese Wedding

An Assamese marriage is the wedding ceremony which takes place in the state of Assam or between Assamese people. In Assamese language, the ceremony is known as Biya. Just like a Hindu wedding, an Assamese wedding also has pre wedding and post wedding rituals. It is simple and yet very elegant. One of the unique and indispensable characteristic of the wedding is the traditional 'biya naam' song. To know more about the wedding rituals of Assamese marriage, read on.

The wedding day starts with the bathing custom, where the bride and groom’s mothers visit a nearby river to fetch holy water for the bath. The reception party, in Assamese weddings, is held before the marriage ceremony. Earlier people were fed curd, rice and jaggery, but nowadays people conduct lavish wedding receptions.

 

The ceremonies that constitute the Pre-wedding rituals are Juran, Tel Diya custom, Pani tola and Nuani.

Juran – In this ritual, mother of the groom visits the bride’s house, and gives gifts to the bride and her family in a traditional brass plate called xhorai.

Tel Diya – In this custom where the mother of the groom puts a ring and betel on the bride’s hair partition, and then oils it thrice, and puts sindoor. This custom culminates in gifting the bride with her wedding trousseau.

Pani Tola – Collecting holy water for the Bride by mothers of both the bride and groom is called Pani tola.

Nuani – This is tradition of taking a ceremonial bath for both the bride and groom.

 

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Wedding Rituals

The wedding rituals begin with the ceremonial bath of the bride and the groom. For this their respective mothers visit the nearby river and collect holy water. After this the wedding reception takes place, wherein sumptuous food is served to the guests, with fish and meat as the highlights. This is followed by the procession of the groom. When he finally reaches the venue, the bride's family indulges in fun activities.

The groom's procession is given entry into the bride's home only after they pay a heavy price. Subsequently, the bride's mother welcomes him while the bride's sister washes his feet. Next, the brother of the bride lifts him to take him to the wedding hall. The groom is usually dress in dhoti, kurta and silk shawl. The bride is given panch - amrit, before going to the hall. It is a mixture of ghee, curd, honey, sugar and raw milk.

This is followed by a remarkable entry of the bride on the shoulders of her maternal uncle. Here, the wedding ceremony takes place in front of the sacred fire. The couple exchange garlands and takes vows amidst chanting mantras. After this, conch shells are blown and the groom puts vermillion in bride's forehead. Friends and relatives then step forward to bless the newlywed couple. After the wedding ceremony is over the couple moves to groom's house where they are welcomed by the bridegroom's mother with traditional aarti.

 

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Style & Attire

Marriages are the most celebrated life-events all around the world, and hence a lot of pomp and show is attached to it. The Assamese people also like to celebrate this occasion in a splendid manner. People from both the sides dress up in their finest traditional wedding attires, which adds to the traditional charm.

The groom wears a traditional Dhoti, Kurta and Cheleng (a shawl of Assamese style), gifted by the bride’s family. The groom’s attire is traditionally accessorised by a flower and Indian Basil garland.

The traditional dress worn by the Assamese bride is called Mekhla. Mekhla is generally created on Muga silk, and is adorned with gold and silver threads. Muga custom is specific to the state of Assam and a vital part of the tradition and culture of the state. This fabric serves as a good base fabric for Mekhla Chadar. Mekhla is a very interesting ensemble, which appears like a sari. Though originally a sari is a single piece of cloth, Mekhla comprises of two or three pieces of clothing.

The first part of the Mekhla is worn as a skirt and the other half like an anchal of the sari. The fabric of the skirt part is heavy in texture, and is ornamented with a broad border and embroidery. In contrast, the fabric on the anchal part is light-weight and flowing. Mekhlas are designed in a myriad of colors like green, blue, yellow and red.

 

Present Day Scenario

Nowadays, apart from the traditional Mekhlas, the Assamese brides have started to wear Silk Saris. There are many options of silk saris available in the market, like Banarasi, Chanderi silk Kanjeepuram, Maheshwari, Brocade and Uppada.

 

Accessories

Out of the many accessories used to adorn the Assamese bride, the jewelry is the most important. Gold jewelry is worn in contemporary or traditional designs. Some Assamese jewelry is made by hand, and is called Jun Biri. The traditional Jun Biri designs are inspired by nature, musical instruments and other Assamese household goods. This jewelry compliments the gorgeous Mekhla Chadar. Other accessories used by the bride include bracelets, bangles, nose rings, made with different metals and shaped in various designs.

 

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