North East India is an abode of vivid colors. Its canvas flashes the glimpses of variety in the culture, tradition, customs and rituals of this place. Though narrating the wedding vows in front of the deity is a common wedding tradition across the world, a couple of customs and rituals among the locals of this part of the country are so unusual that it gives the land its unique flavor.
We have gathered some interesting wedding trivia from the region to be an eye opening read for everyone.
The north eastern women hold a very honorable position in the family and society. In Khasi, Garo and Jaintia tribes of Meghalaya, the society is matriarchal and the descent of lineage goes from the mother to the youngest daughter. Hence, post marriage, the groom of the youngest bride moves to her house. In some tribes of Nagaland, the broom has to stay in the bride’s place for a designated period, lasting from six months to two years. The same tradition is followed by the Karbis of Assam as well.
No second marriage
The Reangs of Tripura and Sherdukpens of Arunachal do not encourage the practice of second marriages. Though widow marriage is accepted socially, it is advocated that a man or a woman will not re-marry within a year of their spouse’s demise. Reangs also discourage the age gap in a marriage and insists on a proportionate age difference.
Fish- the symbol of fertility
Fishes are an integral part of weddings here. Synonymous to the symbol of fertility, they are considered sacred. While in Assam, the groom usually sends a fish to the bride before the wedding, the Dimacha groom has to carry fish to the bride’s house himself. A ritual in a Khasi wedding requires the priest to invoke the Gods and the ancestors by pouring wine on three pieces of fish. Fishes are consumed, offered and gifted generously in the weddings of North East India.
Betel leaves and areca nut usage
Betel nut is an important part of North Eastern culture and thus occupies a place of honor in weddings. Invitation to weddings that are accorded with betel and nut are considered highly prestigious in the Assamese society. Also, both the bride and the groom have to keep betel nuts with them during the marriage, which are exchanged after the ceremony is over. In some places, the seven steps of a Hindu marriage are placed on seven betel leaves. In a traditional Ahom marriage the groom is made to chew betel nut twenty one times. In Meghalaya, wedding rings are exchanged in a bag of betel nuts.
This tradition is widely practiced by most of the hilly tribes of the region, but most prominently seen among the Tagins of Arunachal Pradesh. Here, grooms ‘gift’ plots of land, cattle, raw meat and local alcohol to the bride’s family during the time of the wedding. The higher the status of the bride’s family and the qualification of the bride, the higher is the bride price.
In Mizoram the bride gives a traditional rug or a Puandum to the groom. Interestingly this rug is wrapped around the body of the groom at his funeral. In most other tribal societies in the north east region, the newlyweds are presented with rice, alcohol, money and meats of various kinds to mark their new journey. The Lotha tribe of Nagaland gift fowl at the wedding. Similar practice is followed by the Aos tribe as well.
Weddings are one of the most amazing ceremonies that happen to a person in his/her lifetime. The stranger the celebration, the better it is.
This blog is posted by Sambandhaa, which is a first of its kind e-commerce wedding portal located in Gurgaon, Delhi NCR with its branch office located in Guwahati, Assam. The wedding portal has been launched with the motive of catering to all the needs related to a wedding, thus helping the people across Guwahati, Assam and North east India to have a happy and eventful wedding.