Overview of Odiya Wedding

In the arms of rich biodiversity, captivating beauty and unique architectural treasures, lies the state of Odisha. Along with traditional marital traditions, Odia culture is known for their simplicity. They take pride in their authenticity. They highly value traditional practices and their respect to their ancestors. They are stern believers in following their heritage and maintaining traditional practices.

According to Vedic Hindu culture, wedding rites have been modified with respect to regional and cultural practices.

The value of religion in human life is of utmost importance and is reflected in Orissa's wedding traditions. The word 'marriage' in Oriya is 'Bahagara,'. It is believed that the Oriya couple is married the moment they change rings. However, the actual wedding takes place when a Brahmin pandit weds the couple on an auspicious Muhurat. Like all Hindu weddings, the Odiyas, too, prefer marriages within the same community and highly disapprove of inter-caste marriages. The ethnic garments adorned by an Odiya bride and the authentic cuisine itself speak a lot about an Odia wedding. Owing to the rich cultural legacy of Odisha, wedding celebrations there are colourful, lively, and enjoyable. All family members, relatives and friends join the bride and groom for days of delectable food, vibrant colours and unique customs.

Let's dive into a world of traditional Hindu practices of a perfect Odiya wedding!

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Traditional Attire of an Oriya Couple

In Odia traditions, the bride and groom have specific attire for the various ceremonies leading up to the wedding, showcasing the region's rich cultural heritage.

The traditional oriya wedding dress for the brides of Odisha is a saree known as the 'Samara Sari.' This saree is typically made of silk and is heavily embroidered with intricate designs, usually in gold thread. The saree is generally red or maroon and is paired with a blouse that is also heavily embroidered. The saree is draped in the traditional Odiya style, known as the 'Sambalpuri draping style,' characterised by a unique pleating technique, and folds the saree in such a way that the Pallu is tucked in at the back. The Odisha bride also wears a lot of beautiful jewellery, including gold bangles, earrings, and a necklace, passed down from generation to generation. Completing the look with refined makeup, the Odia bridal look is magical!

The groom's traditional attire is the 'dhoti-kurta.' The dhoti is a long piece of cloth wrapped around the waist and legs and is typically white. The kurta is a long shirt worn over the dhoti and typically made of silk. The groom also wears a turban, known as the 'pagri,' which is made of a long piece of cloth wrapped around the head. The pagri is adorned with a 'Patuka,' a piece of fabric with intricate designs, which is placed on top of the head. In addition, a sacred thread, known as the 'Janai,' is worn across the chest, symbolising his holy bond with his spouse.

In addition to the bride and groom, the male members of the wedding festivities also typically wear the dhoti-kurta. In contrast, the female members of the wedding party usually wear sarees. The traditional attire worn by the men involved in the wedding is also colourful and heavily embroidered. However, the sarees worn by the female relatives of the bride and groom are usually in lighter shades, such as yellow, green, or pink.

The traditional attires worn during Odia pre and post wedding rituals are a beautiful and vibrant display of the region's rich cultural heritage. It is an integral part of the ceremonies and rituals of the marriage and adds to the overall festive atmosphere of the occasion. The attire is not only a symbol of the union of two individuals but also represents the union of two families and cultures. The traditional clothing worn by the Odiya couple reminds them of their roots and the importance of preserving their cultural heritage.

Wedding Ceremonies

Pre-Wedding Rituals

The Indian state of Orissa sits on the country's east coast. Like the other states, it has a vast history of ceremonies, customs, and heritage rooted in rich historical significance. These traditions and customs are the souls of an Odia wedding. Arranged weddings and horoscope matching are standard practices, as in all Indian marriages.

The elders of the family predominantly fix the wedding. The kundlis or horoscopes of the prospective bride and groom were consulted by the Oriya Pandit. Once the Janam Patrikas are analysed, and planets charts and houses are consulted, the pandit concludes whether the bride and groom have a chance for a fulfilled and happy marriage life. Odiyas only want to get married within their community. You, too, can get your horoscopes analysed by our Talk to astrologer or Chat to astrologer link at the InstaAstro website.

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Nirbandh

The pre-wedding ritual commences with the ceremony of Nirbandh. First, a matchmaker or community members are searched for potential partners. In Oriya households, inter-community unions are not typically promoted. Once the horoscope matches suitably, the two families meet. After deep consideration with the members of respective families, the elders choose the wedding date or ceremonial ceremony. This is known as Nirbandh. Typically, the bride and groom are absent at the traditional matchmaking ceremony. Gifts and greetings are exchanged between the two families. Then, at a gathering held at the bride's home or in a temple, the family's elders make verbal promises to one another, known as Sankalpas, that they will marry each other's offspring. The ceremony is called Vak Nischaya, which means 'through word of mouth.'

Jayee Anukolo

During this odia marriage ritual, the wedding announcement is made official with the distribution of wedding invitations. It is marked by the creation, printing, and distribution of wedding cards. Lord Jagannath is the divine power in odia bahaghara, or odiya customs. Hence, it is only natural to seek his blessings before the commencement of the festivities. The wedding invitation distributions begin with the 'Deva Nimantrana' ritual, Here, the first card kept at the foot of Lord Jagannath. It is customary to travel to The famous Jagannath Temple in Puri to seek blessings for this ceremony. Then the families exchange wedding cards. This ritual is called 'Jwain Nimantrana'. Thus, the third invitation is extended by the bride's family to the groom's home. An important aspect of this ritual includes the customary visit of the father of the bride to the groom’s home bearing gifts and clothes. Once these formalities are completed, the families share the momentous occasion with their extended relatives.

Mangan

Just a day before the wedding, the 'Mangan' ritual festivities commence. This is when the traditional Indian wedding custom of applying haldi to the bride's face, feet and hands amongst a beautiful charade of songs and dance takes place. Haldi is said to have healing properties. Seven married women, one of who must be the sister-in-law, make turmeric into a paste and apply the mixture to the hands and feet of the bride and husband. This adds to the pre-wedding glow of the couple. After that, holy water is used for bathing the bride and husband. Traditionally, this ceremony took place at the residences of the bride and groom, respectively. However, since evolution has made its way into modern times, this custom has merged into one big glorious affair.

Jairagodo Anukolo

In the Jairagoro Anukolo ritual, a havan is conducted at the bride and groom's houses. Ghee and oil are the essential elements for the havan. Then, a holy fire in the form of a havan is lit, which is to continue burning till the end of the last wedding rituals. This ritual marks the sanctity of the entire wedding and is considered extremely pure.

Diya Mangula Puja

Like any Indian wedding, the blessings of the almighty are considered the key to a happy marriage. Hence, the blessings of the Gramadevata, or the local village goddess, are sought in this ritual. The bride's wedding saree, toe rings, bangles and a container of vermillion are the prime elements of this ritual. These ingredients are offered to the goddess amidst chants of prayers seeking her blessings. Traditionally, a local barber's wife is asked to make the offering at a temple in the presence of all close family members.

Nandimukha

When the families return to their respective houses, the Nandimukha ritual takes place. Subject to patriarchy, the paternal figures are considered the house-bearers of the family. Hence, the fathers of the bride and groom seek the ancestors to bestow their blessings on the marriage. This ritual also marks the end of the pre-wedding ceremonies. Along with the blessings of the ancestors and the goddesses, the couple is finally deemed accepted by the families of the wedding to commence.

Oriya Wedding Rituals

Barjaatri

Barjaatri is a traditional ritual in Odiya weddings where the bride's family welcomes the groom and his family with music and dance. The groom is typically seated on a horse or a decorated chariot while the procession makes its way to the bride's home. It is an important cultural and social event in Odiya society.

Baadua Pani Gadhua

Baadua Pani Gadhua is a traditional ritual performed during Odiya weddings where the bride and groom exchange garlands made of flowers and water. The ceremony signifies the union of the couple and their families.

Kanyadaan

Kanyadaan is a Hindu wedding ritual in which the bride's father gives his daughter's hand in marriage to the groom. It is an emotional and significant moment in an Odiya wedding ceremony, as it symbolises the father's blessing and acceptance of the groom as his son-in-law. The ritual is performed in the presence of a Hindu priest.

Haatha ganthi fita

Haatha Ganthi Fita is performed during odia Bahagharas, where the bride and groom tie a sacred thread around their wrists. The yarn, called 'Haath Ganthi,' is linked by the groom on the bride's wrist, symbolising the couple's union. This ritual is done before the wedding ceremony symbolising good faith in the couple's marriage. Therefore, it is an essential and auspicious ritual in Odiya weddings.

Saptapadi

Saptapadi, inclusive of the word 'seven', is the ritual where the bride and groom take seven vows while taking seven steps around a sacred fire. The vows symbolise the seven promises the couple makes to each other, including honesty, loyalty, and respect. This ritual is considered an essential part of the wedding ceremony as it marks when the couple becomes husband and wife. Saptapadi is usually performed in the presence of a Hindu priest and the couple's families, with traditional Odiya music and reciting prayers. The oriya wedding ritual are traditionally known by slightly different names. In this case, this ritual is known as 'Saptapadhi' in the Odiya language.

Sala bidha

Sala Bidha is the tradition of the bride's maternal uncle presenting her with a new saree, blouse, and other garments. Traditional Odiya prayers and music accompany the ritual, and it is also an opportunity for the bride to receive blessings from her maternal uncle. Sala Bidha is an essential and auspicious ritual in Odiya weddings. It symbolises the bride's transition from her childhood home to her new home with her husband.

Sindoor Daan

Sindoor Daan is an essential ritual in Odiya weddings, where the groom applies sindoor (vermilion) on the bride's forehead, signifying her married status. This ritual is performed with Traditional Odiya prayers and music accompanying the ritual witness to the Polaris.

Post-Wedding Rituals

Post-wedding rituals are the life of the wedding ceremonies. This is where the bride finally gets to relax and interact with her new family members through a series of fun events and games.

Khaduri Khela

As the name suggests, Khaduri is the name of tiny, white, sparkling shells, and Khela is the vernacular translation of 'game'. In this ritual, the bride tries to pry the fingers of the groom open, which is tightly wound into a fist. Amidst a cacophony of happy cheering by the family, the bride completes this task. The groom then reveals the Khaduras imprisoned in his fist. Then comes the groom's turn to free the Khaduras from the bride's fist. Playful teasing and mirthful laughs make their way into the game.

Sasu Dahi-Pakhala Khia

It is customary for the bride's mother to invite the groom for a spectacular feast at her house. One of the beautiful rituals of a traditional Odiya wedding is the mother-in-law feeding Pakhala along with Baigan Poda, as he sits on her lap. This sweet gesture is her formal acceptance of him as her son.

Bahuna

The bride's mother, along with her other female relatives, perform the 'Bahuna' songs as the bride gets ready to leave the family home after the Sasu Dahi Pakhala Khiya. This is a sorrowful time for the entire family of the bride. Thus 'Bahuna' describes the suffering the mother has gone through to give birth to and raise her daughter.

Gruhaprabesha

When the bride arrives at her husband's house, her mother-in-law greets her with open arms. She is viewed as the manifestation of Goddess Laxmi, whose role is to bring joy and wealth. Hence, the Gurhaprabesha is the christening of the house-entering ceremony in Hindu weddings. This involves overturning a pot of rice on the entrance with her right foot.

Chauthi/Basara Raati

One important tradition of the Odiya wedding is that it is considered complete with the consummation of the marriage. Hence, Chauthi, the fourth night of the wedding, is the day Basara Rathi takes place. The room is beautifully decorated, and the husband and wife share a glass of Kesara Dudha or saffron-infused milk at the beginning of the ritual.

Ashta Mangala

The post-wedding rituals end with the Ashta Mangala. This is a day of grand celebration and laments over the beginning of a new married life and the end of the festivities. Hence the goodbye commences with a scrumptious feast hosted by the bride's family. After that, the couple only spends the night at the bride's parental home. This ritual takes place on the eighth day of the marriage.

Frequently Asked Questions

Odia weddings feature a variety of traditional food, including Dalma (a lentil-based dish), santula (a vegetable dish made with a mix of vegetables), and Pitha (a sweet made from rice flour). Sweets like chhena poda, Rasagulla, and Chhena Jhili are also commonly served. In addition, fish and meat dishes are a staple in Odia weddings.
In an Odiya wedding, the groom typically wears an Orissa wedding dress. This includes garments such as a dhoti, kurta, and a turban or headgear. In addition, he is generally adorned with floral garlands and jewellery.
The bride in an Odiya wedding is typically dressed in traditional attire, such as a saree or lehenga, wearing elaborate jewellery. On the wedding day, she is considered the centre of attention and is honoured and celebrated by her loved ones. The other females wear silk oriya wedding sarees for all the rituals.
Decorations in an Odiya wedding are vibrant and colourful, reflecting the state's rich cultural heritage. They typically include traditional motifs, such as the conch shell and the lotus flower, and are often made of natural materials like flowers and banana leaves. The wedding mandap, where the ceremony takes place, is also elaborately decorated.
An Odiya wedding typically begins with a pre-wedding ritual called 'Sagun,' where the bride and groom exchange gifts. Next, the 'Mangal Barat' ceremony occurs when the groom's family visits the bride's home. The main wedding ceremony is called 'Bela' and includes traditional rituals such as 'Saptapadi' (taking seven vows) and 'Sindurdan' (applying vermilion on the bride's forehead). Post-wedding traditions include 'Bidaai' (sending off the bride) and 'Barajatri' (groom's procession).
The Mangan ritual, which is Oriya's version of the Haldi ceremony, is performed the day before the wedding. It involves seven married women applying turmeric paste to the couple in their respective homes. The bride's or the groom's sister-in-law must be one of these seven women. Following this ritual, the bride and groom take a holy water bath to ward off the evil eye and enhance their pre-wedding glow.
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