Fish has a lot of significance for Bengalis. Not only as a soothing dish to the plates but is an integral part of many rituals and celebrations too. From the ‘Annaprashna,’ the first rice eating ceremony of a baby to their weddings, fish plays an intrinsic role. You would be fascinated to know that there are so many traditions to celebrate the holy presence of fish in Bengali.
As fish is considered to be very pure by the Bengalis, so in all celebration, fish is a must. Keeping in mind that the wedding season is almost here, today we decide to tell you all about the Bengali wedding rituals where the fish plays an auspicious role. Here’s a lowdown on all of them.
The ritual is performed one day prior to the wedding.’ Aiburo’ which means an unmarried young adult male or female and ‘Bhat’ signifies rice which is considered as the final feast Where a bride/groom has their last rice as a bachelor/spinster. Parents and relatives, in order to pamper their grown-up children, try to arrange the best feast including Bengali delicacies like channa dal, shukti, luchci/puri, kosha mangsho, mango or tomato chutnet, aloo posto, rosholgolla and many more dishes.
One inevitable part of this final feast has to be the mouth-watering fish preparations. From maacher jhol to doi maach, all fish preparations are carefully selected and cooked for a feast which soon-to-be bride and groom are not going to forget in a hurry.
Gaye holud or haldi
This ritual is performed on the wedding day, where the bride and groom prepare for their Gaye Holud ceremonies. In this ceremony both the families of bride and groom smear turmeric paste on the bodies of the bride and groom. For the bride’s gaye holud , the groom’s family without the groom pay a visit to bride’s home. They come with a bride’s wedding outfit which she will don for the wedding and some sweets and gifts for her as a wedding gift.
The ritual is associated with Gaye holud. In addition to the bride wedding outfit, groom’s family take a large Rohu fish with them. The fish is decked up as a bride, draped in a beautiful silk saree and decorated with jewelry, sindoor paan and some turmeric paste on it just as a bride.
The decorated fish here signifies good luck and prosperity. This gift giving of beautifully decorated fish is the gesture of groom’s family gifting the bride is their way of extending their wishes for her happiness as she embarks upon this new journey as a bride.
Fish symbolizes good luck, so it is gifted from groom’s family to the bride wishing her happiness and a successful marriage.
It is also said that during the time when gifts and sweets are being exchanged between the bride and groom’s families, the motifs of fish plays an important part. According to the ritual, the wedding outfit of the bride is wrapped in a way that it quite resembles with a fish. Similarly, sweets are also decorated in the form of fish when they are sent as gifts to either household.
Welcoming of bride
The welcome of the bride is one of the first rituals. As the bride takes her first step in her new home is shown a decorated fish. Fish holds an enormous significance in a Bengali wedding and is considered that looking at the fish is said to mark her propitious start in her new home and on a new journey of her life.