Odia wedding or Bahaghara is a ceremony performed by Odias. In the Odia marriage rituals mother of the bridegroom does not take part in the ceremony. The brahmins have their weddings only in the daytime while the other caste weddings are done during the evening or night. There is the custom of sending betel nuts to family friends for inviting them to the marriage. The first invitation is sent to Jagannath as a respect to the lord. Marriages in Odisha are mostly fixed and arranged by the parents. The marriage happens in three major rituals, Nirbandha (fixing the marriage), Bahaghara (wedding) and Chauthi (consummation). These rituals are performed mostly at the bride's house.
Once the marriage alliance is fixed, the ceremony starts up with Nirbandha, the engagement ceremony. The fathers of the bride and groom make a vow to get their children wed to each other and the whole ritual happens either in the bride's house or a temple in the presence of the bridegroom and bride. This is considered as a commitment signal to proceed with marriage arrangements, which is accompanied with exchange of gifts between both families for bride and bridegroom.
Jwain anukula ceremony marks the initiation of marriage rituals which happens in the bridegroom's house. This is followed by the distribution of Nimantrana patra (invitation cards). Deva Nimantrana invitation marks the public announcement of the marriage function. As per Odia custom, the first card is sent to the family divinity. Usually the first card is placed before Lord Jagannath. Moula Nimantrana, the second invitation goes to the bride and groom's maternal uncle. This has to go with some family member in person along with betel nuts. Uncle or "Mamu" is one of the most respectable persons in events like marriages. Invitations can now be distributed among friends and relatives. Jwain Nimantrana for son-in-law of the family, who is the most respectable invitee in marriages. In Odia customs and probably many other Indian customs, the "Jwain Nimantrana" ritual has an important significance. There is a strong religious reason for the same: As per Hindu Mythology, when "Dakshya Prajapati" arranged for a great “Yajna”, he intentionally didn't invite his son-in-law "Lord Shiva". Wanting to visit her parents, relatives and childhood friends, Sati sought to rationalize this omission. She reasoned within herself that her parents had neglected to make a formal invitation to them only because within family, such formality was unnecessary; certainly, she needed no invitation to visit her own mother and would go anyway. So, despite dissuasion from Shiva. Sati wanted to go. So finally Shiva let her go with his ganas. However, upon reaching there within no time Sati realized this mean intention of his father to offend Shiva. Sati was very upset by thinking herself as the cause of this dishonour to her husband. She was consumed by rage against her father and loathing for his mentality. Unable to bear this disrespect to her husband, Sati invoked her yogic powers and immolated herself. Shiva sensed this catastrophe, and his rage was incomparable. He loved Sati more than anything. He devastated the "Yajna" and supposedly slapped "Dakshya Prajapati" that Dakshya was be-headed by Shiva's stroke. Dakshya's head fell in the Yajna Agni. (later upon God's request, shiva gave re-birth to Dakshya by replacing a goat head). Shiva was then with rage into Tandava. Learning a lesson from this, the significance of "Jwain Nimantrana" came into effect, so that no one else should ever think of insulting the son-in-law of a family in ceremonies.
During 'mangana' people bless the bride and then apply turmeric paste on her body followed by the bride's ceremonial bath where turmeric paste is put on her body by seven un-widowed women. Jairagada anukula is a ceremony, which marks the stoking of the fire. Dian manguḷa puja is conducted at the gramadebati's temple. Wife of a barber offers the bride's bangles, toe ring, sindura and sari to the Goddess. Prayers are offered to the deity of a temple. The blessings of the Gods invoked for a long and happy married life.
The groom along with his marriage procession arrives at the wedding venue. This is known as Barajatri. It is the ceremonial procession when the groom and his family members and friends arrive at the wedding mandap amid great pomp and magnificence. Upon arrival of the baraat the groom is greeted with aarti or tilak of which rice is an essential component. The bride is decorated with fine traditional jewelry. In the Baadua Pani Gadhua custom, the girl's side informs the bride that the baraat has come. Thereafter, arrangements are made for her holy bath. The bride is informed of the groom's arrival and then she takes another ceremonial bath called Baadua Pani Gadhua.
The wedding ritual begins with the Kanyadana ceremony which is held on the bibaha bedi. This is the traditional ritual of handing over the daughter to the groom. The customary fire is lit and the priests chant the mantras. Seven heaps of rice grain symbolizing the seven hills and the saptakulaparwata are worshipped during the saptapadi rite. In this custom, the bride's father gives his dear daughter's hand to the groom with the promise that going forward bridegroom will take care of her. This ritual onwards the bride considers herself as member of her husband's family instead. That's why bride is called "duhita", meaning who is grown up in two families to do good for them at respective phase i.e. before marriage bride considers her parental family as her home and is considered auspicious to them. Similarly after marriage the bride is loyal to her husband's family and is treated auspicious as the daughter-in-law of her new family. In fact after kanyadaan the bride steps out of her parental home to spend the rest of her life in her husband's family. Hence, her husband's family has much more significance to an Odia bride compared to her parental home where she lived her initial years of life only. Until recently, before the concept of divorce came into Indian society, it was considered that only death may separate a bride from her in-laws home which is in fact her true own home after marriage.
During hata ganṭhi, a garland made of mango leaves which is considered as a holy symbol is bound by keeping the bride's hand along with bride groom's hand. The bride’s sister is only allowed to open up the ganthi and in return gets some gift from the groom. 'Khai' or puffed rice, a symbol of prosperity is offered to the fire which is called "khaipoda" (burning khai) considering the bride as an avatar of Laxmi who brings wealth and prosperity to the new home. 'Khai' is tossed onto the path of the new wed while they enter the home, the new bride tilts a vessel filled with rice with her right feet making the rice spills over the ground to make a way to her new home.
The bride's brother stands behind the couple while the couple faces each other. The bride placed her hands on the grooms and her brother puts the puffed rice into them. Together they offer this Khai as sacrifice to the God of fire amidst the chanting of mantras. Kaudi khela is a custom of playing a white colored shining shell by the newlywed couple after the marriage ceremony. Kaudi is believed to be bringing wealth, harmony and prosperity to the family. The bridegroom first holds a Kaudi in his fist and the bride tries to break the fist and get it by two of her hands. In the next round the bride make a tight fist with both of her hands with the Kaudi inside and the bridegroom tries to open her hand with only one hand. Rounds of such games go on, the sisters and other younger members of the bride's family carry this custom.
Bahuna is a tradition of mourning with rhythmic songs which includes the story of how the bride's mother has taken pains of giving birth to her, nortured her with care and finally her departure from her own home to make a new house. Elderly women of the house (grandma, father's sisters, mother's sisters) also join mourning with the bride's mother. These songs are called Bahuna gita composed by anonymous poets and been used as a literary tradition for years.
The newly wed couple arrives at the new home where the groom's family gives her a ceremonial welcome called Gruhaprabesa. The bride, along with her husband enters her new home i.e. her in-laws place, where the groom's family gives them a warm welcome. On fourth day after marriage bride and bride groom meet each other. This day is called 'Chauṭhi' (means the fourth day) and the night is called "Basara rati" or "Chauṭhi rati". During the day, puja and homa are practiced which includes burning a coconut to make it roasted inside. A room along with bed is decorated with bright fragrant flowers like "Rajanigandha" (Polianthes tuberosa). This is the night of consummation. The bride glows a basara dipa alongside the bed as a symbol of long lasting glowing relationship. The couples offered to eat the roasted coconut from the homa during the night. There is also a tradition of the bride carrying a glass of kesara dudha (saffron milk) to the bridegroom. This ritual is also commonly known as Suhag Raat in Indian tradition. This is especially important because, marriage is in fact not considered complete or valid until consummation.
The bride and the bridegroom are invited to the bride's house on the eighth day after the wedding known as Asta mangaḷa. Traditional Oriya cuisine is prepared and served for the newly married couple. Sankha (conch shell) is blown along with a specific sound called hulu-huli by placing the tongue on the roof of the mouth with repeated opening and closing of mouth.
Wedding Video (Baraat) :-)