The beautiful North-Eastern Indian state of Manipur is rich in cultural heritage and tradition and verdant scenic beauty. The Manipuri people love their tradition and culture and abide them wholeheartedly. The same wholeheartedness can be seen in their weddings as well. Manipuri weddings are as spectacular and colourful as their traditions. A Manipuri wedding, just like any other Indian wedding is associated with many pre-wedding and post-wedding rituals.
The Manipuri people prefer weddings within their own community, but they are also not against to inter caste marriages outside Manipuri community.Usually the wedding process begins with the prospective bride and the groom meeting each other. It is observed that the young men and women get a golden opportunity to meet their prospective life partners at the grand New Year Festival.
Manipuri Wedding Attire
It is needless to say that any wedding ceremony is incomplete without the wedding dress and this stands true for both the bride and the groom. The wedding is a very happy occasion and also marks the beginning of their new life and hence both of them dress up to look their very best.
The wedding dress of a Manipuri bride is bright and colorful and has a unique style which is difficult to find in any other community. The bride wears a skirt called ‘Raslila’
on her wedding day. They also put on a red and black sarong which is known as Pindhan.
The entire dress is teamed up with a blouse referred to as Silum
The wedding attire of a Manipuri bride is also distinct in style. Usually the wedding attire of a groom consists of a dhoti, white kurta and also he puts on a turban on his head.
Another very interesting fact you will see is that Manipuri bride does not wear too much of heavy jewellery. In spite of the fact that Manipur is known as the ‘land of jewels’ the Manipuri bride accessorizes with very few basic ornaments such as nose rings, bangles and earrings on her wedding day. The groom wears almost no jewellery at all.
Manipuri Wedding Rituals
The Manipuri tribe celebrates the wedding ceremony with great joy and fun. The wedding process begins with the Hinaba
ritual, which refers to the very first meeting of the parents of both the bride and the groom. At this ritual the horoscopes of the bride and the groom are matched and the date of the wedding is set. Another pre wedding ritual is the Yathang thanaga
where the parents of the bride visit the groom's place and finally gives their approval to the wedding. Waraipot puba
is another ritual where the groom’s family brings food items to the bride's place. Heijapot
ceremony refers to the formal engagement of the couple.
On the day of the wedding the groom and his family along with other kinsmen are welcomed at the bride's place by a Meitei woman. The wedding altar and the seating arrangement are made around the tulsi (basil) plant. The most interesting part is that all the rituals in the wedding are centered around the tulsi (basil) plant.
The bride and the groom exchanges garland with each other and after the garlanding of the couple, the bride and the groom takes seven circles (saat pheras) around the basil plant amidst the sound of the kirtan and shehnai. After this two women from both the sides releases a pair of taki fish into the water, which symbolizes the bride and the groom. Last but not the least a lavish feast is served to the deities for the blessing and happy life of the newlywed.
The last custom in a Manipuri wedding is the Mangani Chakouba
. This ritual is organized after a period of five days from the wedding. This ritual marks the first visit of the newlyweds to the bride's place after their wedding. A grand feast is also organized for the entire clan of both the families along with other invited guests. Precisely, the pre-wedding rituals, the wedding rituals and the post-wedding rituals form the entire Manipuri wedding. The traditional wedding of Manipur symbolizes immense joy and pleasure.