The most prominent, post-wedding ritual after the Bidaai is the new bride’s welcome into her new abode which is dotted with various customary games and rituals that act as an ice-breaker for the nervous bride.
There are various post-wedding ceremonies such as Abhishek, Anna Prashashan, Aashirvadah, and Grihapravesa – the welcoming of the bride to her new home. These ceremonies take place at the groom’s home where the bride’s mother-in-law gives the new couple a warm welcome. This is known as the Grihapravesa or home coming. This ceremony usually requires the presence of the entire family of the groom in particular, apart from the presence of his extended family. The Aarti is performed by the mother-in-law for the newlywed couple
During the Griha Pravesha, the mother-in-law then applies a Tilak to both the bride and groom, after which the couple seek blessing from the elders present. After this the bride is to tilt a Kalash (pot) laden with rice using her right foot and then step into a dish with Alta. After this she is to walk into the home leaving behind auspicious red footprints which is symbolic of the arrival of Goddess Lakshmi.
The arrival into a new home with new relatives and responsibilities is overwhelming for the bride. Hence, in order to break the ice and make her feel more comfortable, ritualistic post-wedding games are performed after the bride’s entry. Although times have changes and couples essentially meet prior to their nuptials, the conventional post-wedding games are still practiced. Initially, they would contribute towards increasing the familiarity and the proximity of the wedded couple, however, today they are just a customary practice that brings in the fun element after the tearful Bidaai.
The various games have their individual significance and also help the bride and groom to engage in the fun and frolic, wherein they are often pitted against one another. Each family has its own share of traditional post-wedding games, out of which include finding the ring from a bowl of water, milk and rose petals. This particular game has been glorified in various Bollywood movies and television serials too.
The Pillow Talk is another popular game wherein the couple is made to sit back to back. A pillow is held between them by another person and they are made to answer various questions by just nodding their head to indicate ‘yes’ or ‘no’. This is a fun-filled game and is used to check how compatible the couple is with one another.
Unknotting the knotted string is another popular post-wedding game which is quite popular amongst households. In this, a knotted bracelet string is tied to both the bride and groom. Both are then to unknot the knots using one hand. This game is very delightful and humorous at the same time.
Hindu Sindhis perform their traditional salt ceremony wherein the bride has to pass a fistful of salt into her husband’s hand without dropping a pinch. This is then repeated with the rest of the family. This ceremony signifies that she will become one with the new family just like salt mixes in with food.
Different Customs in Different States
In the Oriya custom, the newlywed couple enters the new home and the tradition is called Gruhaprabesa, which is a ceremonial welcome. This is the time when the bride is given a warm welcome from her in-laws. The entry is almost identical just like in other cultures- as the bride is to enter the house with her right foot first which is thought to be propitious. After entering, the bride is welcomed by her mother-in-law with an ‘Aarti”.
The Bengalis have a slightly different welcome tradition when the newlywed couple enters the new home. The bride is presented with the Shankha Pola bangles- traditional red and ivory bangles- as well as a metal bangle called loha. She is also given a welcome meal called the Bharan Poshan ritual wherein her in-laws and husband gives her a plate full of sweets and a sari. The bride then reciprocates by following the custom of preparing Bahubhaat– a rice dish- which is symbolic of her having become a part of the clan.
The Gujaratis also follow a similar entry for the newly wed couple and is followed by various games, out of which one is called the Aeki-Beki which the couple plays wherein they have to find the ring kept in vessel containing water, milk, coins and vermillion. According to this custom, the one who finds the rings first is the one who will “rule the roost”.
Style & Attire
Generally, the bride and groom enter the new home in their wedding attire. These days, bridal wear has become more exclusive and designer-made to perfection. The latest trends followed in Bollywood are replicated by the young brides in metropolitan cities. From the colors to the silhouette, hairstyle and jewelry– everything is replicated to give that stylish look on the most important day of their life.
However, most of the regional bridal dresses are more resistant to fashion trends going on in the big cities- and they tend to stick on to the traditional clothes, drapes and jewelry. For instance, in Gujarat, the brides wear the red and white ghadchola and the Punjabi brides wear salwar suits. South Indian brides wear silk saris, in red color, along with the traditional gold jewelry and long plait hairstyle with flower adornments.
After entering the house, the other most significant ceremony that is usually held on the same day of the wedding or a day after is the reception. This ceremony was initially more prevalent in the cities, but now the trend has become common now. This ceremony enables the newlywed couple to mingle with relatives of both sides and receive their blessing. Modern day reception parties are laced with music and dance- making it a very enjoyable event and a befitting way to end the marriage celebrations. After the reception, the couple usually goes off for their honeymoon.
The Wedding Reception Party is done on a lavish and grand scale and is only about dance and music. Whether done in a traditional manner or celebrating the wedding in a flamboyant affair- the reception is an occasion for seeking the presence of those who couldn’t make it to the wedding.
Wearing the attires
The bride and groom usually wear color coordinated outfits these days that bear hints of popular silver screen trends. A lot of brides opt for the lehanga choli in the latest color combinations for the wedding day. The wedding reception party that takes place after the bride enters her new abode is a day when both the bride and groom dress up in different outfits which could range from ethnic to western- such as a gown and a tuxedo!