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Oriya Wedding Rituals

Matrimony through generations is embedded in the hearts of prospective boys and girls as one of the most important occasions in their lives. The tying of the nuptial knot instills a strong sense of bonding in the hearts of the bride and groom to nurture a bright future. Marriage symbolizes the virtues of faith, loyalty, care and love between a man and a woman. Indian culture significantly upholds and supports the sanctity of marriage.

The ingenuousness of the tradition of marriage is significantly exemplified in Oriya weddings. Located on the east coast of India, Orissa is one of the most beautiful states of India. The people of Orissa are not extravagant or extrovert and follow a simple lifestyle. This is reflected in their marriage ceremonies which are simple affairs. However, the people of Orissa conduct their weddings ritualistically by following all the customs which elevates the richness of their culture.

Oriya weddings are an elaborate affair with many customs and rituals that are followed before and after the wedding. One of the unique characteristics of the Oriya weddings is that the mother of the Oriya groom does not take part in the marriage celebrations. Also, the aged family members of the groom’s family do not attend the marriage.

While the Oriya Brahmin families conduct the ceremony in the daytime, the non-Brahmins prefer to perform the ritual in the evening or night.

The Oriya pre-wedding rituals consist of ‘Jayee Anukolo’ Ceremony, ‘Mangan’ Tradition, ‘Diya Mangula Puja’ and ‘Barajatri’ and ‘Baadua Pani Gadhua’ customs. These rituals exhibit a strong sense of simplicity that prevails in the lives of the people of Orissa. The conventional customs are carried out with extreme plainness and purity.

The wedding rituals begin with the tradition of ‘Kanyadaan’ and ‘Saptapadi’. The place where the ritual is performed is beautifully adorned with flowers and leaves. The ceremony begins with the lighting of the sacred fire, after which the purohit begins reciting the Holy verses. The focus of this ritual is on saptapadi of every ritual.

Firstly, seven heaps of rice grain, symbolizing the seven hills and the saptakulaparwata, are worshipped. Thereafter, the Oriya bride and the bridegroom take seven rounds around the sacred fire. Traditionally, the custom signifies the handing over of the bride to the groom by her father.

This is followed by the practice of an offering of ‘Laja’ or puffed rice by the bride and the groom to the sacred fire. The priest solemnizes this custom by chanting the Holy verses.

The post wedding customs beautify the occasion of marriage by the observation of rituals such as ‘Grihapravesh’ and ‘Astha Mangala’.

Oriya weddings can thus be seen as occasions of much gaiety and joy which are carried on simplistically. Avoiding lavishness, Oriya wedding rituals are ingenuous and beautiful, bracing the purity of the culture and traditions of Orissa.