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Exploring Assamese Wedding Rituals

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India is a diverse country with varied cultures and traditions. It is only natural that weddings are performed differently in different cultures. And there is no better opportunity to understand culture and traditions of a select group than to visit a traditional wedding. Assamese weddings are what we are exploring in this article. ‘Biya’ as they are generally referred to in their local language is characterized by some pre-wedding and wedding rituals. They are carried out over a period of two-three days and are full of color and festivities and bear a strong cultural influence. One of the unique features of these weddings is the traditional ‘Biya geet’ or ‘Biya naam,’ which are traditional songs sung by the women of the Assamese community throughout the wedding festivities.

A glimpse into a traditional ‘Biya’ is given below:

Before the start of any rituals for the wedding, a string of mango leaves is tied on every door of the house. This is thought to ward off any evil intention or negative energy – which is called ‘aam dali gotha.’ With the auspicious setting, Juran Diya follows. The thought behind this ceremony is to shower the ‘bride to be’ with gifts. During the ceremony, the groom’s mother visits the bride’s family with a number of female relatives and presents her with gifts – the wedding attire, makeup, and jewelry. The groom first touches everything given to the bride!

A part of the Juran Diya is Tel Diya ceremony where a ring and a betel nut are placed on the bride’s hair by the mother of the groom. Oil is poured over this thrice, and vermillion is applied. Interestingly, in Assamese weddings, this is the only time vermillion or sindoor is applied. The husband does not apply the sindoor. Only mom-in-law does. Equivalent to ‘Ghadoli’ in Punjabi weddings is the custom of ‘Pani Tola.’ Both the mothers gather water from a nearby pond or river for a ceremonial bath before the wedding. A coin and a knife are given to the ‘soon to be a couple,’ which have to be carried everywhere with them until the wedding is concluded.

For the sacred bath, both the bride and the groom at their respective places are made to sit on seats created with four young banana plants. Oil, a paste of lentils, curd, and turmeric, are applied on their heads, and the ceremony is concluded with sacred water being poured on their heads.

On the day of the wedding, the Assamese groom, ready in his attire gifted by the bride’s family, arrives at the place of the wedding. Interestingly, it is considered inauspicious for the mother of the groom to be a part of the ceremony! So, she leaves before the wedding concludes.

Weddings are more than just ceremonies. They are a culmination of two families and, especially the bride and the groom, who are embarking on their journey towards  matrimonial  bliss! Although weddings across the country may seem different, they all seek to celebrate the union of the two souls – they are full of joy, celebrations, and love for the new couple for their ever-lasting love and companionship!

Tips for Planning A Trousseau For Wedding

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Congratulations! You are getting married! You are embarking on a life-long journey towards matrimony,  and you have our best wishes. We understand the mammoth task that lies ahead of you. The endless things to be done, the clothes to be bought, the finances to be managed, the décor to be finalized, the honeymoon destination to be zeroed in, those heels to be bought, the bags, the accessories, the jewelry, the gifts! Phew! The list is never-ending. And the pressure is increased many times by the information available on various wedding services related sites.

One of the most overwhelming tasks at hand could be that of planning your wedding trousseau. Yes, we know it, and we are here to help! Keep in mind our tips for planning that jaw-dropping wedding trousseau!

Tip one – Don’t wait until the last minute!
I’m sure you have heard it many times, but trust us on this one. The sooner you start building that wardrobe, the better. Remember that old saying – ‘Rome was not built in one day’? This is quite like that! Start making trips to exhibitions and fashion houses early. If not to buy, it will expose you to the current fashion trends and also the possibilities. Therefore, don’t leave this to the last!

Tip two – Mix and match!
This is actually a good idea to be open to, and explore. So, while buying suits, pick up something in unicolor; it becomes easy to mix it with something and give it a new twist. Any color would be okay for this – a pink Anarkali can be worn with a, let us say, purple dupatta, or even a sea green! Use your creative side and mix it up! This applies to sarees too! Mix a saree and a crop top, or a long skirt and a collared shirt, or a shirt and a ghagra – the options are endless!

Tip three – Think more than just RED!
Yes, we know red is associated with love, prosperity and ‘Indian Brides.’ Often, the picture of perfect newly married Indian bride or the new bahu is the one in red. While we do agree that it looks lovely on the Indian skin tone, there are a whole lot of colors to explore too! Those pastels may be a great addition too! And they make a perfect outfit for those outdoor family lunches too! Don’t you agree?

Tip four – A few of all!
For a newly married Indian bride, there would be many dinners to attend, weddings to go to, family invitations and party invites too! And different occasions would call for different kinds of outfits. Therefore, we suggest that you include a mix of all – suits, sarees and western wears. And depending on the kind of family set-up, choose the number of each you’d need to take along! And while stocking on sarees, don’t forget to add classic golden and silver stand-alone blouses. You never know when they may come handy!

Tip five – Not all heels!
This is important! In our excitement to buy those stilettoes, we forget that sometimes comfort dressing is chic too! So, do include sneakers or those classic tan crisscrosses, or those wedges to gear up for comfort dressing too!

Tip six – Don’t forget accessories!
Imagine – you are dressing up for a party and are ready to go. You open your jewelry box and, oh no! The gold jewelry won’t fit. Keep in mind that art jewelry is a fun way to upgrade that outfit – without putting too much money in it. And pairing it with the perfect sling or a tote would take a look from ‘good’ to ‘wow’! So, while buying real jewelry, do spend some time and effort in putting together a handful of those pieces. You never know when the results may surprise you!

Rekindle the spark in your married life this Valentine’s Day

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Celebration of Love cannot be restricted to a day or two, rather its something to be rejoiced every single moment of each passing day. Marriage, which many believe to be an end of love & romance life, can actually be an exciting start to a new phase rendering a different meaning to love all together. Valentine’s Day or rather Valentine’s week which usually runs an excitement within the couples in relationship, can be a great time for married couples to re-emphasize on the love that prevails but tends to get lost amidst the various other responsibilities and commitments of marriage.

Why not kindle the spark of romance with your spouse this Valentine’s week? After all, you are each other’s favorite person to spend time with. This year, make sure to plan the entire Valentine’s week day by day with your most loved life-partner.

7th Feb: Rose Day

Surely you would have gifted rose to your spouse many times till now, but starting your day with a rose along with a cute love message is sure to bring in a sparkling smile on your partner’s face. Just a recall of this will make him/her smile throughout the day.

8th Feb: Propose Day

The idea of proposing your partner once again might sound to be a bit weird if you are already married. But believe me, proposing your partner afresh to be a friend, a lover and a companion for life, will sprout the feeling of freshness to your relationship. Your partner will certainly fall in love with you once again.

9th Feb: Chocolate Day

Who doesn’t like chocolates? And that too when it comes as a lovely surprise from your life-partner! Yes, even a small chocolate as a gesture of love is good enough to make your partner realize that you still care.

10th Feb: Teddy Day

Gifting a teddy bear is just the perfect way to express your love for your life-partner. Being married, a cute pair of hugging teddies forms a perfect gift. You may also choose to gift a cushion with teddy on it. After all it is not the gift and its value that matters but the feelings of the one who gifts it.

11th Feb: Promise Day

Promise to be together, promise to stand by each other in all circumstances, promise to love each other unconditionally forever, is all that a marriage requires. Recapitulating it over again and again will just make the bond stronger. Don’t forget the revisit the promises you made to each other on your wedding day.

12th Feb: Hug Day

Hugs are never enough! Its not just a simple act to holding each other closely but embraces within a deep message that “I am there for you. I care for you. I love You – today and forever”. It makes the receiver feel confident & secure about the relationship. You can’t wrap love in a box, but you can wrap the one you love in a Hug. Do it.
13th Feb: Kiss Day

Kiss in itself symbolizes love and affection. Though you may have your own favorite way of kissing, this day why not start your day with a kiss that exhibits the purest form of love and respect for each other – a kiss on your partner’s forehead. There is something really sensual about a forehead kiss. It gives a feeling of love, comfort, care and respect and assurance of being the most special person in the world.

14th Feb: Valentine’s Day

After the entire week of making your life-partner feel special about your relationship, its finally the Valentine’s Day. Let this be a day for the two of you. Rather than sticking to the clichés associated with Valentine’s day, try to spend as much time together as possible and do the stuffs that you enjoy doing as a couple. You share a unique relationship, a unique bond with each other, celebrate the uniqueness, celebrate your love, celebrate your relationship as a couple!

Significance of Solah Shringaar

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Solah Shringar is said to enhance the beauty of the Indian bride during matrimony. The number 16 (Solah) is supposed to correspond to the various phases of the moon and Shringar is derived from ‘Shri’, Lakshmi. Matrimonial sites are now focusing on educating the modern woman about ancient traditions and embrace them.

1. Bindi:

It is the coloured red dot that women wear at the centre of their forehead; said to symbolise the elusive third eye-for wisdom, luck and prosperity.

2. Sindoor:

A red-coloured powder (usually kumkum) applied on the parting of the hair, considered auspicious for the well-being of her Indian groom.

3. Maang Tika:

The first piece of jewellery that goes on the Indian bride’s body, applied to the parting of the hair with a chain attached to the hair.

4. Kajal or Anjana:

A black dye preparation, generally applied to the eyes, said to protect and provide a cooling effect, accentuate the shape and beauty of her eyes and make it more alluring.

5. Nath:

Nath is worn through the left nostril by the bride on wedding and other auspicious occasions, sometimes with a chain that extends behind the left ear.

6. Karn Phool:

This is a must in an Indian bride’s matrimonial attire. Earrings usually elaborate, comes as a set with the bridal necklace.

7. Haar:

The Haar is to be worn around the neck, could be Sita-Haar, Choker. The most traditional haar is the mangalsutra, given by the husband on the matrimonial day and made of black beads.

8. Mehendi:

Applied to decorate the hands and feet of the Indian bride. The richness of the colour symbolizes luck, prosperity and fertility and provides a soothing effect on the skin.

9. Bajubandh:

The bajuband is an ornament to be worn on the upper arms, to have a slenderising effect on the arms.

10. Bangles:

Bangles are to be worn in forearms by the bride and come in variety of shapes and designs and materials.

11. Aarsi and Haathful:

Haathful comprises of four or five rings worn on the arm fingers with chains attaching them to a bracelet. Aarsi is a traditional thumb ring studded with a mirror, to allow the bride catch a glimpse of her groom in it.

12. Kamarbandh:

A gold or silver belt meant for the bride to wear around her waist. Traditionally, this was an ornament to secure the saree and emphasise the slenderness of her waist.

13. Payals:

Chains worn around the ankles, could be a simple or elaborate, may have a bunch of chiming beads attached. Wearing gold on feet is considered to be inauspicious, payals are made of silver.

14. Bichhua:

This is mostly worn on the second toe of the left feet, said to enhance fertility in married women and made of silver.

15. Fragrance/Sugandh:

Applied to the bride to smell pleasant throughout the wedding ritual, meant to soothe her nerves.

16. Keshapasharachana:

Traditionally, the hair bun is adorned with fresh, fragrant flowers along with other hair adornments, preferable gold.

How to impress an Aries Indian Bride

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Aries, is a fire sign, ruled by the war God Mars, symbolised by iron as the ruling metal and diamond as the birthstone! For the  Indian groom out there, wanting to join with this woman in holy matrimony, some food for thought! Not many matrimonial sites  will help you get an insight, so here goes – fire is heat, energy and purifier, Mars fights evil, Iron is tough and pure and so is diamond.

If the above is metaphorically translated, the Indian bride born under this sign, is strong-headed, energetic, stands up against injustice, frank and pure at heart. So, to understand her, handle her and forge an ever-lasting relationship, you need to:

1. Respect her as an equal, her interests (even if they don’t match yours), respect her personal space and in turn WIN her respect; never demand it.

Aries is a sign of pride, which many mistake as ego. Therefore, before anything else, she values respect as to her that is synonymous with pride. She believes where there is no mutual respect, there cannot be foundation of a relationship. She respects a man who can firmly but politely reason with her, counter her impulsiveness with calm logic, be a patient listener, be empathic to her point of view and negotiate disagreements. If you can logically prove her wrong, you have not only cleared the disagreement but won over heart.

2. Be frank and open conversationalist.  Being frank and open herself, she appreciates this quality, will value the trust you place in her, will help understand and try help you solve your problems and will be happy to share her thoughts and her life problems with you. She enjoys a positive give and take relationship on an emotional and spiritual level.

3. Ensure never to give her any reason to be jealous or suspicious. Aries girl is fiercely protective of her near and dear ones. Give her any reason to be hurt or humiliated and chances are her warm feelings towards you will turn into cold anger, shutting you out. You, on the other hand, are not allowed to feel jealous. She trusts you completely and she expects the same in return.

4. She can be energetic at times and quite lazy at others when her fire burns out. Understand that, give her space (Aries woman requires plenty of space) and let her recharge her batteries; when she comes back all recharged, be prepared to handle the fire and energy!

5. Strike the fine balance of being a man and a gentleman – neither too rough nor too soft;

This strong-headed yet warm-hearted Indian bride will give her heart and soul to her matrimony, will ensure everything runs clockwork and balanced, family never lacks fairness, warmth, love, care, will be fiercely loyal, supportive and protective of you, will not tolerate injustice, frank in her opinion (which may cut but will always be the truth that eventually brings the best out of you).