Friday, 25 January 2013

Arunachal Pradesh Pre-Wedding Rituals


In Arunachal Pradesh marriage plays a very important role in the society. A marriage is considered unrecognized if it takes place outside the prescribed rituals and rules of the community. Normally three types of marriage are practiced.
a)     Marriage by negotiation or service (Aaw long aaw)
b)  Marriage by elopement (Thok no ho chai)
c)  Marriage by kidnapping or capture (Aan sheio Aaw)
Ritual followed in Marriage by negotiation/ Practice
Negotiation

When the groom’s parents find a girl of their choice they hire a middleman(Chow-Pachaw) for marriage negotiation. The middleman finds his assistant who would help in the negotiation process. On an auspicious date they do to the bride’s home along with hopha (kind of token-some amount of sugar) and Baan Moya (a platter of flowers). They are kept before the bride’s parent.  The middleman conveys the message of the groom’s party. The bride’s family keep the decision secret till the second visit. If the bride’s parent are not ready for the alliance they have to return the hopha.

In the second visit the middleman along with his assistant visits the bride’s house. This time the decision of the parents are known. If the decision is a positive one a third hopha is placed in front of the bride’s parent and the date of engagement and marriage are fixed. The bride price is also negotiated. This is done to secure the future of the bride. Horoscopes are also matched. If something unfavourable come the marriage negotiation is cancelled.

Pong Pha-Engagement

The groom parent present the bride’s parent with a token (Pha) which contains 1. Pa heing(smoked fish) A fish lays a infinite number of eggs. The people think that the couple will be able to reproduce and in this way the family members would increase.  B) Khaw tom (cooked sticky rice which is neatly tied by leaves) The people believe that by giving sticky rice the love between the bride and groom will be evergreen and they would be together for the lifetime (sticky). C) Wan Khai (bowls filled by 5 or 7 eggs) This custom is performed to inform the celestial bodies like the sun, the moon and the stars about the marriage. It is prepared very carefully.

It is a custom that the groom’s party should have the same number of male members as there is in the bride’s party so that they can form a couple. In addition to that Pha( Smoke fish, sticky rice and egg bows) should be carried by unmarried girls. If a mistake is detected the groom’s side pay a fine of Rs. 140. The elders tie a scared thread around the wrists of both the groom and the bride.

When the engagement is complete the negotiator hands over another hopha (token amount) and a platter of flowers before the bride’s parent. He takes the permission to take the girl with him.

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