Orissa is the eastern state of India, located on the shores of the Bay of Bengal. The residents are called Oriya, who is believed to be very down to earth people leading very simple life. The simplicity in their culture reflects in their festivities and celebrations, especially their weddings. In a Hindu Oriya family, the wedding rituals are same like those followed in any other Hindu family of the country. However, one can find some of the differences in Oriya Matrimony that are apparent due to regional variations.
Like other Hindu communities, the Oriya Matrimony also last for several days, and the basic rituals are also similar, although the names are different, again due to the regional touch. In the eastern India, the groom’s mother does not attend the wedding. This custom is applicable on the elder females of the family too. The wedding styles also depend on the castes, where the Brahmin Oriya conducts the marriage during day time, while non-Brahmins perform the wedding rituals during the day evening or the night time. There are no complicated wedding rituals involved in the Oriya Matrimony, and the wedding is free of any types of hassles.
The bride and groom sit next to each other in a Mandap, and the wedding rituals are performed in front of the sacred fire, which is believed to be the witness of the holy rituals. The priest chants mantras, and amidst the chanting of mantras, ululation of women, and the blowing of conch shells, the wedding is performed. Saptapadi or seven steps are taken by the bride and groom together, where they take rounds of the sacred fire and seven mounts of rice. During the Saptapadi rituals, the bride and groom make wedding vows to each other. The wedding vows are the form of commitment which the bride and groom make for their future life.
After Saptapadi, the haatha ghanti is performed, where the bride and groom offer puffed rice to the holy fire. The bride and groom sit in front of each other and the bride’s father keeps the hands of his daughter over the hands of the groom. The bride’s father puts puffed rice on their hands and then gives away his daughter to the groom. This is a very emotional moment, where every member of the girl’s family is in tears. The ritual is known as Kanyadaan, which is believed to be the greatest Daan in the Hindu religion. The groom puts vermilion on the forehead of the bride, and the couple is declared as husband and wife for the whole life.
After the wedding ceremonies are performed according to the Oriya Matrimony, the bride bids adieu to her home and enters the new life with her husband. At this point of time, there is a custom known as astha mangala. Here the newlywed couple is invited to the bride’s house for a delicious treat. The couple is served with typical Oriya home cooked food, which is cooked by the female family members of the bride.