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A crash course on traditional Odia weddings and related words!

Traditional Odia weddings and related words!

Odia Weddings

Duhiṭā and Bara Poṣāka: attire of the Odia bride and groom

(posākā ପୋଷIକ: attire)

Minimalism is one word that best describes Bāhāghara, a traditional Odia wedding.

Odia bride at Odia wedding wearing yellow silk saree

The wedding ceremonies take place in simple yet rich and elegant clothing. The ଦୁହିତା duhiṭā or kaniā କନିଆ (Odia bride) is traditionally adorned in a yellow saree with a red border known as baula pāṭa ବଉଳ ପାଟ. Her wedding attire also includes dupattas, or uttariya ଉତ୍ତରୀୟ, which is used to cover the head. Featuring lavish artwork such as Zari, embroidery, and prints, the attire is complemented by a variety of eye-catching accessories such as sinthi ସିନ୍ଥି (maang tika/ornament headband), kundala or pendi phoola ପେଣ୍ଡି ଫୁଲ (drop earrings), shaṅkhā ଶଙ୍ଖା (red conch bangles), cuḍi ଚୁଡ଼ି (gold bangles with intricate designs), and jhuṇṭiā ଝୁଣ୍ଟିଆ (toe rings).

The ବର ବର (Odia groom) traditionally wear white cotton or silk Dhoti with a simple and demure border, paired with a cotton shirt or a kurta. What makes the bara and kaniā appearance special is the colourful, glittering crowns made of Shola or Cork Pith. These crowns enhance the entire attire of the couple reflecting the vibrancy and richness of Odia culture.

Did you know about these beautiful Odisha wedding rituals?

Sacred Odia wedding rituals

Weddings are the time to enjoy the various customs and rituals. Each ritual leading up to the sacred union is a celebration in itself.  An Odia marriage happens in three major rituals, nirbandha ନିର୍ବନ୍ଧ (fixing the marriage), bāhāghara ବାହାଘର (wedding) and cāuthī ଚଉଠି (chaturthi) (consummation). After the marriage is fixed, both bride and groom side start preparing for pre-wedding rituals that includes jāi anukūl̤a  ଜାଇ ଅନୁକୂଳ  (the distribution of wedding cards begins with Lord Jagannath receiving the first card), mangana ମଂଗନ (haldi), jāi ragar̤ā ଜାଇରଗଡା anukūl̤a ଅନୁକୂଳ (lighting the holy flame till all the wedding rituals are completed), diaṃ maṅgul̤ā pūjā  ଦିଅଁ ମଙ୍ଗୁଳା ପୂଜା  (praying at local temple), and nandīmūkhī ନାନ୍ଦୀମୁଖୀ  (praying to ancestors).

The wedding day rituals includes barayātrī ବରଯାତ୍ରୀ (groom's wedding procession), Baadua Pani Gadhua ବାଡ଼ୁଅ ପାଣି ଗାଧୁଆ (bride’s ceremonial bath), kanẏādāna କନ୍ୟାଦାନ (bride’s father hands over her hand in groom’s hand), hāta gaṇṭhi phitā ହାତ ଗଣ୍ଠି ଫିଟା (untieing the knot put to join the hands of the bride and the groom), saptapadi ସପ୍ତପଦି (seven rounds around holy fire), lājāhoma ଲାଜାହୋମ (offering the puffed rice into the sacred fire given to the bride by her brother), salā bidhā ଶଳା ବିଧା (bride’s brother punches the groom lightly on the back) and lastly the sindūra dāna ସିନ୍ଦୂର ଦାନ (groom applies vermillion powder to the bride’s hair parting). The wedding is considered to be complete after this ritual.

Vermillion in Odia wedding ritual

Post wedding rituals includes kaüḍi khel̤a କଉଡି ଖେଳ (fun game), śāśu dahi pakhāl̤a khiā ଶାଶୁ ଦହି ପଖାଳ ଖିଆ (bride’s mother invites groom to have cooked rice soaked in curd), bāhunā ବାହୁନା (bride’s farewell from paternal house), gṛhaprabeśa ଗୃହପ୍ରବେଶ (bride’s welcome at groom’s home), caüṭhi rāti ଚଉଠି ରାତି (wedding night), and ashṭha maṅgal̤ā ଅଷ୍ଟ ମଙ୍ଗଳା  (bride’s visit to her mother’s house on the eighth day of wedding).

The delicious food at an Odisha Wedding

Special food for Odia wedding dahi bengan

A crucial aspect of any marriage ceremony is its cuisine, and Odia weddings are no different. Odia marriage is not complete without Bhoji, the grand feast, that includes an assortment of Odia vegetarian and non-vegetarian food items. The food here is not insanely oily or spicy. Being a coastal state, fish and seafood definitely dominate the menu. You can gorge on a variety of seafood delicacies like maccha besara, maccha mahura, chingudi ghanta, and chinchada with different rice specialties. They also serve dalma with other curries, including aloo rosso, dahi baingan, chatu rai, ambula rai, kadai manja rai, and santula. You also have several types of chutneys as a great side dish. Then you have desserts like pana, rabidi, kheeri, jilapi, and pheni to name a few. It is a treat to taste the food served at Odia weddings. A wedding feast reflects the rich and diverse heritage of the country, with its distinct flavours and delicacies from each community and region.


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