Customs of Marriage in Bihar

In Bihar, Marriage ceremonies vary somewhat according to locality  and community 

The general brief description of ceremonies taking place in most of the traditional wedding,compiled here, are more or less common for whole Bihar.                                                                 


The ceremony of swallowing the mango-fiber,on the day of wedding, is called imli ghontai. A male of the mother's family (usually her brother) puts into her left hand a present of money or ornaments. He is then given the center fiber of one of the mango leaves to the bride's mouth. The bride then bites a small piece of this and deposits it .......
The elder male says to the mother " Are you cool (jurailoo)"? to which she replies " I am cool (jurailin)".

When the marriage has been agreed upon,
the father of the
bridegroom visits the father of the bride, and each provides a few handfuls of paddy. These are mixed together  and then divided between the two fathers by the priest, and the bridegroom's father takes his share home. This ceremony is called dhanbatti. This paddy is reserved to be parched in the chulha .

Then the females of the bride's family perform the  chumawan or  chumauna ceremony. In this, five women take rice between the thumbs and forefingers of both hands and touch in order her feet, knees, and shoulders with it. They then put it on her head. On the fifth or eighth day before the expected arrival of the wedding procession, the preparations are made in the bride's house. If they take place five days previously, they are called pachmangra ; if eight days  athmangra

On the ceremony of matkorwa , the women  of the family and their friends  go singing to a well. They level a piece of ground near the well and smooth it down with lal mati, a kind of yellow clay which is generally found immediately over gravel. They then dig a clod up out of it, and carry it home on the head of one of them. They make a fireplace, chulha, of this mud in the center of the court-yard, aangan. In somewhere a plantain-tree and a bamboo is set up in the courtyard, under which the mud is placed.

The day before the expected arrival of the marriage proces
sion, the family sets up a bamboo shed in the court-yard over the fireplace. This shed is called marhwa, or manro. An earthen pot, called kalsa, with a four- wicked lamp, called chaumukh,on its top is placed in the house where the family god is placed for the purposes of the marriage. This house is called kohbar.

Some of the pot are placed at marhwa.
A plough-shaft , haris, a plough-yoke palo,
and some bamboo twigs, karchis are then buried in the ground in the centre of the marhwa. Then five men bring out from the kohbar the kalsa, and place it under the marhwa in front of the bamboo twigs. The father of the bride then anoints the four posts of the marhwa with ghee and on each the mother applies some vermilion (senur). The name of  this ceremony is  gheeudhari or ghidhari.

At the same time worship is offered
to the progenitors of the family, which is called mantri puja. Then five men take turmeric (hardi), oil and  dub grass (dubi), which they scatter on the bride's forehead. This is called hardi charhae. Then women anoint her body with oil and turmeric. This is called ubtan.

Next follows the ceremony of swallowing the mango fibre. This is called imli ghontai. An elder male of the mother's family (usually her brother) puts into her left hand a present of money or ornaments. The barber's wife then gives him the center fiber of one of the mango leaves hanging up in the marhwa, which he presents to the bride's mouth. She then bites a small piece off this and deposits it in the hollow of her mother`sown right hand, into which the elder male pours a little water. The piece of fiber is called kharika. This the mother holds over her daughter's head and gulps it all down.

The elder male then says to her, " Are you cool (jurailoo)"? to which she replies " I am cool (jurailin)".

Wedding wreaths of mango leaves, flowers, etc., are hung
over the door, and about the marhwa. These are, bandnewar or ghera. In Bhagalpur mango branches are hung about the house, and are
called pallo.

Continued in the next page....

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