I still remember the day it was the 25th birthday celebration of my sister where all the relatives along with my dad’s colleagues were there. At the time of dinner one of my dad’s staff asked my dad to convert the friend relation into family relation. My Father was really confused at that time. He asked sometimes to think. After dinner everyone leaves house happily but my father was in different stage neither he was sad nor happy. He did not speak single words to anyone.
Likewise, days were passing and my dad was not able to accept the fact that his daughter is going to marry soon. Obviously for parents their children are always kids for them. After a month I saw the same uncle along with his family coming from the top of my house. They asked if his parents were in the house. Yes, I said they entered doing namaste. I took them towards the guest room. I sat beside my father. He started the same conversation that now we need to think about children that are grown up and need to get married. After thinking for a while my father said yes, my dear friend you are right but before we arrange, we need to know the children’s thoughts regarding their views for marriage with each other.
My father called my sister as I know that my sister and the guy who came in search of a bride are good friends as it was going to convert into relation the wedding of my sister is surely gonna be fixed. As everything was ok the date and time had to be fixed so my father called the pandit ji (priest).my mother brought tea and snacks for the guest after a while the pandit ji arrived seeing his book (patro) he told day after tomorrow is good day for engagement and after 30 days of engagement (i.e 28th November) is a fine day to get married. They ask if the pairing of the couple is good. According to chena the pandit ji answered yes. Every face in the room was happy, even my sister and brother-in-law(vena)too. But I can see the sad face of my father and mother inside their hearts as the princess (laxmi) of our house was going.
They left with pleasure and the day was over after a while we had our dinner and slept. Next day I was thinking ambivalently because tomorrow was the negotiation day called as (janai supari) on this day my father took a container used to make curd (thaki) and keep 2 pieces of janai and a betel nuts (supari) on the top and then after that Both of them put garland to each other. The new couple were asked to sit together; so every family member could put the tika on them in chronological order.
I saw some drops of tears on my sister’s eye. Everything was good and going on, they returned as only the day was left for (patra). The day on which they fix lagan known as shubh muhurat as on the next day the for lagan someone from the boy’s side came.
The invitation from the boy’s side is given to the girl’s family and vice versa. Now only the day left was the wedding; Nepali hindu brahmins had many karmas. Everything was good. We were preparing for the wedding; the pandalwala was called to make the pandal, and the cook was called to prepare the wedding meal. The pandit ji was called for the day and so on everything was going I was excited to know something new, something extraordinary.
Many invitation cards were sent to each and every relative and told no one should be left behind. On the day before the kasar batne(the wedding), small sweets like ladoos made from rice flour were distributed.
At first they heated the big container (karai) and added some ghee and then grind the flour using a long bamboo stick usually known as (kap-tera). On the other side they were melting jaggery; when the jaggery was properly molten they pour it on the heated flour and then this mixture was sent inside the pandal where the groups of ladies were ready to make the ball like structure called kasar and then the mixture was passed around to make laddu (kasar).
The festivities were on; singing the old song known as sangini. The first ladoo (kasar) was offered to God and khul-deuta (the god and goddess who are believed the guardians of the house).
On the other hand a puja called (nanyamukhi-sarad) was going on and the pandit ji was uttering Sanskrit mantras. After a while along with my father and mother, he came to the main door of our house and hung a piece of cloth, coloured white red and yellow. He pasted a little bit of cow dung making seven heaps and put dubo with supari on every heap in the main door frame and chanted; finally pouring some drops of ghee from the seven heaps to both my parents on their heads which is known as (Basu-dhara).
The main aim of this puja was that if anything uncertain happens in relation to lineage; the wedding will not stop until it is finished. Everyone was tired and eagerly waiting for the next day.
The bride-groom came along with the group of people (janti) and panche baja, a set of five traditional nepali musical instruments that are played during holy ceremonies. It is usually played by the damai and the gaine caste in hindu tradition by using the rhythm of Nepali folk songs. It is named panche baja because phanch means 5 in nepali the five set of panche baja are:
Damaha (large kettle drum)
narsinga (a long C shaped trumpet)
shehnai (a flok oboe)
Everyone was ready and waiting for the janti.
The groom’s entourage, the bhat-kharauw, were messengers in ancient times. Today they’re performed as re-enacting ancient traditions. Their work is to inform the bride’s side about the types of food they prefer and so on.
Fifteen minutes later, the groom arrived with janti and panche baja on the gate; then the bride from the incinerator (hawan Kaunda) goes to the gate for swayamvara, the bride and groom place a grass mala around each other`s neck dubo ko mala made from bermuda grass because the grass stays so well preserved. It represents a long happy marriage full of good fortune.
After that the groom gave a ring to the bride; after the bride returned towards home the groom along with janti entered. According to Nepali culture, reddish coloured rice was thrown at the janti which was known as janti parsinu. After that a new karma was performed known as barani.
The father of the bride carried a flat round woven tray made up of thin bamboo pieces called choya. on his head and told the groom to stood on a wooden tool (Pira) and then my father circled the bride three times. The groom was standing, opening his hand and then my father returned home from the pandal. The groom was sent to the dining pandal where he was offered two plates of food known as bhura-baag.
Finally, the ritual known as gora dhuna is performed: on this karma the bride and groom are called together on a throne where everyone washes their legs and pastes a tika on the forehead. The best part is the presents, from the old and young.
The two white from both side kept money on it from both and equal and janai supari on the cloth making a knot (lagan gatho). The knot resembles a long life relationship.
As per Hindu rituals the final rite of passage is the kanyadaan in a wedding ceremony. A Sanskrit word which literally means giving away the daughter, the bride is formally handed over to the groom by her father. Eventually the groom put a necklace po-tay to the bride and circled the hawan kund 7 times during which the bride made 7 vows to the groom. Every religion and culture has their own set of vows and the main aim is to keep this relation unbreakable.
During the first round the bride promises that during any auspicious work she will accompany him.
In the second promise she asks him to respect her parents the way he respects his own.
On the third promise the bride asks the groom to be with her during their youth, adulthood and old-age period of life and will never leave her in any circumstances.
In the fourth promise the bride makes the groom realize his responsibilities she asks the groom to bear all the responsibilities of their house.
In the fifth promise the bride asks the groom that, if he participates in any kind of monetary transactions, he will first take an opinion of the bride as well.
In the sixth promise the bride asks the groom that he will never insult her in front of others.
In the seventh and the last promise the bride asks the groom to respect other women but never to allow anyone to come between them.
After the groom agrees to all of the promises; only then the bride agrees to marry him and accept him as a part of her life. After that the lagga home is done where I was asked to hold water on hand after my hand, my sister`s and vena`s hand. Followed by some Vedic mantras said to leave water to my sister's hand and from sister hand to vena`s and then to the (tapera) the plates of leaves and said to put the tapera on the hawan kunda.
Was it over? No. A puja called saptarishi puja was done to please the seven risis in Hinduism. The couple blessed; the asta parbat puja was done so that the newly formed union would be strong as a mountain . The mark of womanhood, the sindoor (vermilion) was placedon the bride's sinodo (the partition of hair at the top of her forehead) and then a kukuri (a nepali knife) was raised. The man told a story of a brave Gorkha who won much of Indian land and then formed THE GREATER NEPAL.
This was usually done in olden days when the mode of transportation was less and if someone attacked the couple the kukuri empowered the groom to chop the heads of the attackers. But now it is simply a ritual remnant of the past.
Finally the dhurba-tara so that the relationship be long as a distance of stars from the earth and then the ritual of mahur gotha, dhai chatu -aunia and then juto- khauna are a ritual to make confidence that they are married and are also done to make the environment romantic.
The ceremonies over; games begin. Jua or gambling for the entertainment and after a while the bride had to introduce her family and lineage to groom in a ritual called maiyti- chin- auna.
The bidai or leaving ceremony in which the bride goes along with the groom… was an emotional moment for everyone. Some water drops also came into my eyes but I thought that this is a way in which we human beings exist... like my sister is taken by someone`s son; I would also have to marry someone’s sister. That is custom and that is the way in which our people live. Keeping my thoughts aside we leave my sister, shadow of my mother, the laxmi of our house, up to the groom's car. Days were passing and everyone was missing their sister badly but after some weeks everything was normal.
Aside from all these things I came to know that life goes on. One should look ahead and accept the fact which makes life easier because trends change with time.