Marriage Rituals of Baiga Tribe
Marriage Rituals of Baiga Tribe include the practice of adult marriage where three ceremonies precede the actual wedding. They also have provision for Widow Remarriage.
The marriage rituals customs of the Baiga Tribe spell out that a man should not take a wife from his own sept or from any other who worships the same number of gods. He is allowed to marry his mother's sept. Among the Baigas they are allowed to marry their first cousins. Adult marriage is practised among them and the proposal is forwarded from the side of the bride. In some localities the girl is allowed to choose her own husband. Dowry system is practised and a fixed price is paid to the bride's parents. Alternatively even the prospective husband serves the father in law for two years. After the commencement of one year the marriage is conducted. Orphan boys who have no one to arrange marriage for them take the service of their wife. Three are three ceremonies prior to the marriage. The first one takes place after the birth of the two children. The ceremony of betrothal is arranged. The second ceremony is an authorization of the first ceremony. The boy's parents arrange for a feast on both the occasions. The final ceremony is celebrated when the children grow up and reach their marriageable age. After a feast from the boy's father the wedding day is fixed. To determine the marriage if the marriage would be promising or not, two grains are dropped in a pot. If the two points of the grains meet then the marriage is considered to be auspicious. In case they do not meet, a second pair of grains is dropped. If they meet the next time it is thought that the couple will quarrel with each other after a period of time and the wife will return back to her father's house. If neither of the cases happen then a third time grains are dropped in the pot and it is concluded that the wife will elope with someone leaving behind her husband within a short span of their marriage.
The wedding procession begins from the bridegroom's house and is welcomed by the bride's father's outside the village. It is customary that the boy should ride an elephant while going to marry. As it is not affordable to get an elephant, two wooden bedsteads are fastened together and it is covered with a blanket and with a black cloth is tied like a trunk in front. The elephant pretend to charge and crush down the marriage precession till a rupee is paid. Then the two parties embrace each other and advance for the marriage. During wedding ceremony the boy and the girl throw fried rice on each other until they get tired. They then walk three to seven times around the marriage post with their clothes tied up. Earlier the wedding couple used to go into the jungle to spend their wedding night. This custom has now been discarded.
Widow remarriage is permissible and the widow is supposed though not compulsory to marry her deceased husband's younger brother. If the girl chooses another husband she pays an amount to her brother in law. This ceremony comprises of gifting of bangles and new clothes by the suitor to his new bride. The bride in return pours some tepid water strained with turmeric over his head. Divorce is also allowed among them. Divorce between the husband and the wife is arranged by breaking a straw in front of the caste panchayat. If the divorced woman stays back in the village and does not remarry, the husband is responsible for her and her children's livelihood. A divorced woman is not allowed to marry without the approval of the panchayat and so long her husband is alive. She needs to stay single till then. Polygamy is also practised but it is conditional.