As picturesque as the hills and waterfalls that come to your mind on hearing North-East, their weddings are also phenomenal and truly one-of-its-kind. There is a vast stretch of traditions and customs amongst the seven states, each state having something so unique and rooted, it’s distinct from the other. From silky ‘bakhu’ attire to mekhla sarees, here’s how diversely beautiful north-eastern wedding traditions can be!
In the local Assamese language, the wedding ceremony is called ‘Biya’. Women sing cultural songs or ‘Biya Geet’ and ‘Biya Naam’ throughout the wedding. Contradictory to a Sangeet function, Biya Geet tells mythological tales about love and marriage and is sung from the first day of the wedding till the last.
A Manipuri bride weaves her own wedding garland, and makes one for her groom too! In a ceremony called ‘leilenga’ that takes place on the wedding day, a bride prays for an everlasting and happy married life while weaving the wedding garlands.
A Manipuri bride also wears a traditional ‘Raasleela’ dress for her wedding and emanates Radha.
Mizos are mostly Christians, and thus abide by the western wedding rituals…with a TWIST! The bride and the groom are generally clothed in formal western wedding attires. The ladies from both sides wear traditional colourful wraps called ‘Puan’ by the groom’s family, and ‘Puanchei’ by the bride’s.
Nagaland has over 17 tribes co-existing in harmony. One such tribe called the Ao Tribe have a very special way of accepting a marriage proposal, much like, but very different from the concept of ‘mooh meetha kijiye!’ When the groom (eligible bachelor) also called Ao Naga chooses to marry a woman, he offers fish to the bride’s parents.
The culture of Tripura has been heavily influenced by that of West Bengal’s and thus, there’s a stark similarity found between the two culture’s wedding rituals. For example, ululation is common in both cultures! In a ceremony called ‘Kuaitano’, women mark betel leaves and nuts with the names of the bride and the groom a day before the wedding, as a sign of blessings bestowed upon the couple.
In the Khasi community in Meghalaya, a man leaves his home post the wedding. Yes, that’s unimaginably progressive and matriarchal of the community! A man is never seen leaving his house to marry and live with his wife in any other Indian wedding culture.
Arunachal Pradesh is home to more than 20 different tribes and their wedding traditions resonate those of modern-day Burma and Tibet. In most of these tribes, a daughter or woman is considered to be an economic asset. The groom’s family provides the bride’s family with a Mithun, fabric and cookware as a welcome sign for her into their family. This custom is kind of opposite to that of dowry and is known as ‘Bride Price’.
Not that Sikkim technically falls in the seven sister states of India, but it does come under categorically ‘north-east’
Sikkimese wedding attire is very similar to what their royalty wears and is called a ‘bakhu’. A ‘bakhu’ is made out of the finest silk and is worn in a rather traditional, yet distinct way. To highlight the curves of a woman in the spirit to celebrate womanhood, a Bakhu sits around one’s waist like a corset. It’s otherwise an ensemble consisting of a loose-fit blouse, a skirt and a belt to tighten and insinuate the waistline.
PS: All images are sourced from Instagram.
A bride’s generally surrounded by her bride tribe and family who make every ceremony a memory! I mean with rituals that interesting, how can north-eastern weddings be any less than a humongous party? If you’re invited to or are planning to crash a north-eastern wedding, whichever state’s wedding you embrace, it’s going to be a joyous celebration for you. Till then, stay safe and ‘in’tertained by The Wedding Brigade!
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