My son, Judhajit, got engaged on October 7, 2021. We had organized an elaborate arrangement for the Aashirwaad-cum-engagement ceremony of the bride and the groom in a nearby hotel — The Royal Retreat in Ranchi. The bride’s family came from Dumka, also in Jharkhand. Dumka is the second capital of Jharkhand state. The close family members and friends, who could come, had come to bless the would-be bride and groom. They came from places like Amritsar, Bhubaneshwar, Delhi, Kolkata, and Prayagraj. The family members of the would-be bride, Tania, came from Dumka, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Malda, and Mumbai.
The Bengali culture is embroidered with a fine sense of art shining through the elaborate customs rooted in respect, love, and emotion. A Bengali wedding like any other wedding has its own flavour of traditions and rituals. Bengali Hindu weddings like most other Indian weddings are a good mix of traditional customs and rituals. The wedding is the union of two families.
A Bengali wedding depicts all this very beautifully. It features many rituals and ceremonies starting from Aashirwaad to BouBhaat and the wedding reception.
The Aashirwaad Ceremony
Bengalis’ respect for their elders is exemplary. Aashirwaad is a common ceremony observed by the bride’s and groom’s families. It usually takes place much before the wedding. However, Bengalis are flexible in their approach. Keeping the convenience of their guests in mind, they sometimes organize the Aashirwaad just prior to the wedding ceremony.
We decided to have the Aashirwaad done now with the wedding taking place next year. We agreed that the Aashirwaad will take place in Ranchi, while the wedding in Dumka.
Aashirwaad is a ceremony where the bride and the groom are formally accepted by both families. All the family elders present shower the blessings on the would-be Bengali bride and groom. They bless with by putting Dhaan (rice grains) and Durba (three-pronged grass blade) on their head, and feeding sweets. As an expression of blessings, gifts or money is also given to the would-be bride and groom.
The Ring Ceremony
The exchange of rings is optional in Bengali wedding rituals. Our both families agreed to have an exchange of ring ceremony too. Once the Aashirwaad ceremony was over, Judhajit and Tania exchanged rings. Judhajit was made to be on his knees by his cousin sister. Judhajit and Tania exchanged rings amidst some fun and frolic.
Cutting the Cake
The cutting of the cake is becoming an integral part of the Indian culture too. Judhajit’s friends quietly brought a huge cake in the evening. It was a big, tiered, yummy cake.
The celebration was followed by a reception. With the grace of God, the event went off very smooth with everyone enjoying the event. The event was organized at the banquet hall of the Royal Retreat Hotel. The food was nice and was served as promised by them. They opened their lawns for a separate sitting place for those who were interested in drinks.
The arrangement and organization of this event took us two weeks. The last days were very hectic for us. We had to arrange for picking up the guests from the airport. the railway station, the bus stand; lodge them in the hotel in their comfort; arrangement for their breakfast lunch, snacks, tea, and dinner; and at the end, dropping them at the airport, the railway station, or the bus stand. Since the hotel was around 100 m away from our house, we made the food arrangements in our garage. It was outsourced to our known caterer, Ranada, who did a good job and ensured personally that the guests are fed properly.
I must acknowledge the great help provided by the friends of Judhajit on 24X7 — Manish, Kshitij, and Bikram. They all are doctors and colleagues of classmates of Judhajit. Judhajit’s school classmate, Karan also helped a lot on the event day. Manish also gave his car for our use exclusively. My friends, Aranjit, Satyabrata, and Tapas, gave good company to the guests.
The family members of Tania, the Laha family, are very nice people. They are quite sporting and very much fun-loving people. They did not let us feel that they need any special attention. We enjoyed their every moment of the company. It’s our pleasure to get associated with the Laha family.
Now as I settle down after bidding farewell to all the guests and settling the bills of all the service providers, I am contemplating the wedding and reception events, which will be much larger in scale and magnitude. And, this event was a very good learning experience for me, my wife, Jagrata, and Judhajit, as well.