Love and Marriage Bengali Style – Bangladesh

You sure didn’t plan on it happening. But like so many travelers before you, while visiting Bangladesh you met the man or woman of your dreams and went and fell in love. Now what? Well before you throw caution to the wind, perhaps a bit of familiarity with Bengali marriage customs is in order. Bengali marriages are a mixture of tradition, culture, and above all religious beliefs. If you thought you’d zip over to City hall for a Las Vegas style quickie, you came to the wrong country.

Bengali marriages are an occasion where the entire family gathers together and takes part in coordinating every last detail. You may gain a wife or husband, but you also get an entire family to make the package deal complete.

Bengali marriage is a mixture of culture, tradition and rituals. Like all other ceremony’s, marriage rites are dependant upon numerous symbols that signifies good and evil, purity and sanctity, sexuality and other aspects of life. For instance, the color black is not used as it indicates sadness and hopelessness, while red is considered a sign of luck, emotion, fortune, and copulation and is widely used in decor.

The actual ritual of a Bengali marriage ceremony begins with the ‘Adhibas’. It is a gathering held in both the homes of the bride and the groom. It is held either on the evening before or on the day of the marriage. The elderly women of the family take an active part here. The ‘baran dala’ or a ‘koola’ is a container made of bamboo and is decorated with lines drawn with sindoor. The ingredients of the ‘baran dala’ are paddy, grass, sandal, turmeric, flowers, fruits, curd, ghee, gold, silver, copper, conch shell, ‘chamor’ and cloth.

Banana trees are used to decorate the ‘mandap’ or the place of marriage. A banana tree is known to produce a large amount of fruits. The comparison is drawn with the bride, who is also hoped for a blessing of many children.

Eight days after the marriage, the bride returns to her father’s home, accompanied by her husband. This is also known as Ashtomongola or Dwiragaman. The newly wed couple spends the night at the home of the bride. The Ashtomongola marks the end of the Bengali marriage ceremony.