Odia wedding rituals

Odia Wedding Rituals

Replete with the breathtaking architecture of temples, scenic beaches and glorious nature scenes, Odisha is one of those desirable destinations where people witness the rich culture of India. But this eastern coast of India conceals too much behind the veil of traditional wedding rituals.

An Odia marriage is a magnificent celebration of love, reverence and religious devotion. Though there is no such ostentatious display of wealth and status, Odiya’s wedding is truly rich and layered with expensive regional and cultural customs.

Let’s take a tour of the fascinating rituals of an Odiya Wedding.

Pre-wedding rituals in an Odiya Wedding

Similar to the other Indian culture the Odiya wedding commences with the matchmaking of a boy and girl according to their horoscopes. When it gets fixed the following pre-wedding rituals take place in the home of the bride and groom.

1. Nirbandh –

Image source: Maharani Weddings

The very first pre-wedding ritual of a traditional Odiya wedding is, Nirbandh which looks quite similar to the engagement ceremony of other Indian cultures. But the main difference here is, the bride and groom do not take part in it. Only the family members of the boy and girl visit a temple or the bride’s place for Nirbandh. A vocal promise is exchanged between both families which is called “Sankalp“. They promise to marry their children to each other’s and it is followed by the exchange of gifts, sweets and other valuable things. In some families, it is also popular as Vak Nischaya – Word of Mouth.

2. Jayee Anukolo –

Image source: The Knot

One can consider this ritual an official announcement of the wedding by the families of the bride and groom. The invitation cards are prepared by the families and the very first invitation card is placed in front of Jagannath Ji, who is the supreme deity of this state. This ritual is called Dev Nimantrana in which families offer the card at the Puri temple, in Odisha.

Now the second invitation card is sent to the maternal uncle’s family. Along with the invitation card, a betel leaf and a betel nut are also sent to their homes. This is known as Moula Nimantrana. 

The third invitation card from the bride’s family is offered to the groom’s family. The father of the bride visits the groom’s home with some elder male members and respectfully invites them to the wedding. They carry some gifts also with the invitation card. This unique ritual is called Jwain Nimantrana.

After these three special invitations, families are free to disperse the cards among their relatives, friends and neighbors.

3. Mangan –

Image source: Jothishi

This ritual takes place in both families in which the bride and groom enhance their wedding glow with a sacred paste. One or two days before D-day, the seven married women of the family including Sister in law, apply a turmeric paste on the face, hands and feet of the bride/groom. After this, the bride/groom goes for a ritualistic bath that signifies the warding off of evil sights from them. Usually, Mangan happens during the afternoon in both homes.

4. Jairagodo Anukolo –

Image source: Vedivo

A unique ritual of the Odia wedding is, lighting the sacred fire with oil or ghee in the form of Hawan at home. It is believed that the flame of this fire is auspicious and that is why it should stay lit till the end of the wedding celebration. After the completion of all wedding rituals, this holy fire can be doused.

5. Diya Mangula Puja –

Image source: Happy Weddings

A bride-centric pre-wedding ritual takes place in a temple where a  barber’s wife offers the wedding attire, vermillion and jewelry box to the goddess. It is believed that Goddess showers the divine blessings on these valuable wedding objects of the bride. The ritual is performed at a specific local temple where a Goddess named Gramadevati is present. The significant ritual also symbolizes the blessing-seeking act by the bride for her happy married life forever. All close family members also take part in this bride-centric ritual where they chant the holy mantras mentioned in the ancient scriptures.

6. Nandimukha –

Image source: Pradakshina

This ritual symbolizes the significance of ancestors in the Odia family. The father of the bride/groom performs a puja and invites the ancestors of his home through a prayer offering. The ancestors bestow blessings and permission to the family of the bride/groom to proceed further with the next wedding rituals. It is also marked as the end of all the meaningful and unique pre-wedding customs of the Odia Community.

Wedding day rituals in the Odia community

7. Barjaatri –

Image source: Brides

An important social event of the Odiya wedding is when the groom and his entourage received a grand and warm welcome from the bride’s family. The well-decked groom sits on a horse or chariot and arrives at the wedding venue or bride’s place. Here the bride’s mother performs an aarti of the groom and put a vermillion paste “tilak” on his forehead. Other females also perform this custom of welcome. Usually, the bride’s family sends a vehicle for the Barjaatri. On arrival, the groom’s feet are washed with coconut water and the family of the bride offers him a mixture of curd, sugar, honey and ghee before his fascinating entry into the venue.

8. Baadua Pani Gadhua –

Image source: Pinterest

As the groom arrives at the wedding venue and approaches the mandap, the bride’s female companions tell her about his entry. Now the bride takes a ceremonial bath to ward off the evil eyes and after this ritualistic bath, she adorns herself for the pious wedding functions.

9. Kanyadaan –

Image source: Vocal Media

In this quite common but significant Hindu wedding ritual the bride’s father shows respect and acceptance towards his new son-in-law. The bride enters the sacred wedding mandap and sits beside the groom. Now her father places her hand on the groom’s hand and asks him to love and take her good care throughout her life. The groom makes a promise while holding the bride’s hand and the ritual gets concluded with the blessings of the bride’s father to the couple.

10. Haatha Ganthi Fita –

Image source: Twitter

It is a beautiful ritual of the Odiya wedding that shows the heartwarming union of two individuals right before their marriage. The bride and groom tie a sacred thread called “Haath Ganthi” on their wrists that joins their wrists. This Haath Ganthi is made up of mango leaves which are considered sacred in religious events like weddings. This leafy garland on the hands of the bride and groom enhances their beauty. Now with the joined hands the couple takes seven rounds around the holy fire and recites the seven vows of marriage. This ritual transforms the bride and groom into a husband and wife.

11. Saptapadi / Saptapadhi –

Image source: Pixoto

Depicting the companionship of bride and groom in thick and thin, this ritual holds great importance in the Odiya wedding. The priest prepares the seven mounds of rice grains on the ground and blesses them with the touch. These rice piles are known as Saptakil Parwat and the seven mountains of the hardships. Now the bride breaks them with her right foot and the groom supports her by holding her hand. It shows the togetherness of the couple in every state of the married life.

13. Lajahoma / Khaipoda-

Image source: WeddingWire

In the Odia culture, the puffed rice is known as Khai or Laja and the couple uses them to appease the holy fire and seek the blessings of sacred flames for a blessed wedded life. The bride makes a cup shape with her palm and fills it with puffed rice. Now the groom supports her hands and they offer them to the holy fire. In turn, the deity posed as the fire showers blessings on the couple. At several places in Odisha, this ritual is popular by the name Khaipoda.

After this, the maternal uncle of the bride matters the most for her from childhood to the commencement of this married phase and this ritual shows it brilliantly. Her maternal uncle gives her the saree, blouse, and jewelry and divine blessings in abundance. The traditional Odiya prayers and folk wedding songs accompany this ritual and make it more surreal. Gifting these matrimonial objects to the bride by her maternal uncle is a representation of the bride’s transformation into a married woman.

14. Sala Bidha –

Image source: Sambad

Sala is the brother-in-law of the groom and he playfully punches the groom’s back just to remind him of his duties and responsibilities. This fun frolic ritual of Odiya’s wedding adds a smile to the faces of all attendees. This playful ritual also makes the love denser between the groom and the brother of the bride when he says that the groom will be answerable to him if he teases his sister.

15. Sindoor Daan –

Image source: Wedding Affair

At the end of the Odiya wedding, the groom and bride stand up and go outside for visiting the pole stars. After seeing it, the groom fills the Sindoor ( vermillion powder) in the hair partition of her bride and helps her by wearing the conch shell bangles in her hands. This pious ritual marks the ritualistic end of the Odiya wedding celebration.

Post-wedding rituals in the Odiya culture

The post-wedding rituals of the Odia families are made up of several bittersweet moments. Let’s have a glance at them.

16. Kaduri Khela –

Image source: Facebook

After the completion of the wedding celebration, the bride and groom share some light and fun moments. In this ritual, the groom holds shiny white shells in his hand and hides them in one of his fists. The bride tries to open the fist with all her strength. Now after the groom, the bride repeats this ritual and the groom tries to open her fist with all his might.

17. Sasu Dahi-Pakhala Khia –

Image source: Odisha Bytes

Now after playing the fun wedding games, it is time to feed the groom with a traditional meal. He sits in the lap of his mother-in-law and she feeds him the Pakhala and Baigan Poda through her hands. Here the Pakhala is the rice soaked in the curd and water and Baigan Poda is the recipe made up of eggplants and spices. These both recipes are authentic Odiya dishes.

18. Bahuna –

Image source: Happy Weddings

An emotional ritual takes place when the bride leaves her paternal home. Her mother shows the pain of giving birth to her daughter and bringing her up with a grown lady whom she is now leaving. The mother of the bride sings Bahuna and other family members accompany her in this mourning ritual.

19. Gruhprabesha –

Image source: Happy Weddings

The bride reaches the home of her in-laws and husband and receives a warm welcome from her mother-in-law. The newlywed wife is considered the incarnation of the goddess Lakshmi who spreads joy, prosperity and good luck in her new home by gently kicking the pot full of rice grains with her right foot.

19. Chauthi / Basara Raati –

Image source: Pinterest

After the fourth day of marriage, the ceremonial puja is performed at the groom’s house. A coconut is roasted at the home and the couple. Beautifully decorated room with flowers and lamps placed in the corner, the couple proceeds further for the rituals as a husband and wife. The bride also offers a glass of Kesar-infused milk to the groom. The couple spends the night together and the Odiya wedding is considered completed only after this ritual that shows the complete acceptance of the bride and groom by each other.

20. Asta Mangala –

Image source: WeddingWire

On the eighth day after marriage, the married couple visits the paternal home of the bride. Here they receive a grand welcome. Enjoying a traditional Odiya meal follows this visit and welcome ceremony. The couple spends the night in the paternal home of the bride and the next day they return to their home. The bride’s family blesses them while leaving.

This final post-wedding ritual marks the end of the entire wedding celebration in the Odiya culture. The stellar feeling of love and enjoyment takes a pause here.

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