Here are some of the wedding rituals of North Eastern states of India:
Wedding in Meghalaya
The wedding system in Meghalaya is also unique in every aspect. Marriages are officiated only after a formal engagement and take place at the bride’s home. The rings are exchanged in bags of betel nuts. This is one state where there is no existence of the dowry system. Once the marriage happens the groom shifts to the bride’s place i.e. her ancestral home. Women are considered the sole custodian of wealth in the society and the couple and the children take the mother’s maiden name as their official surname.
Wedding in Mizoram
The Mizo people have their own set of traditions and customs. Most of the natives have converted to Christianity and the wedding rituals are a unique blend of Christian customs and original tribal rites.
In Mizoram there is a custom called marriage payment where the groom pays a certain amount of money to the bride’s family. The boy approaches the family of the bride and settles a price for the marriage with the consent of the girl’s family. The marriage is solemnized in a church and the bride gives a traditional rug or a ‘Puandum’ to the groom. This rug is wrapped around the body of the groom when he dies.
Wedding in Assam
In Assam there are a lot of interesting rituals and customs associated with marriage. There are many interesting pre-wedding rituals like the ‘Juran’ ceremony, ‘Pani Tola’ ceremony, ‘Tel Diya’ rituals and ‘Nuani’.
Wedding in Tripura
In Tripura the traditional marriage practices demand that the Jamai or the groom has to look after the family of his prospective bride if he wants to marry her. The boy shifts to the house of the girl and works hard to prove his ability to care for her family. The time period for this is agreed upon mutually and the period runs between 6 months to 1 year.
Interestingly if the girl’s family refuses to marry off the girl to the boy no compensation is paid to the boy. The purpose of the custom is to assess the potential of the groom. This is a progressive custom as cited by the cultural representatives of Tripura as women in other societies are subject to humiliation and degrading practices.
Wedding in Arunachal Pradesh
In Arunachal Pradesh there are 3 distinct forms of marriage which are practiced in the society. The first is marriage by negotiation or ‘Aaw Long Aaw’. The second and the third forms of marriages are marriage by eloping or ‘Thok no ho Chaii’ and marriage by capture or ‘Aan Shieo Aaaww’.
Wedding in Manipur
The weddings in Manipur have a certain timeless elegance about them that are accentuated by the quaint rituals and customs that are followed in the state.
‘Hinaba’ is the first meeting between the bride’s and groom’s families and it is here that horoscopes are tallied to find out if the match is auspicious or not. ‘Yathang Thanaga’ is the ritual when the bride’s parents visit the groom’s family to give their consent to the wedding. The ‘Waraipot Puba’ ceremony happens when the family of the groom brings food for the bride’s family. The ‘Heijapot’ ceremony signifies the formal engagement of the bride and the groom.
Like a Maharashtra marriage the rituals of Manipuri wedding are centered on the Tulsi plant. The seven sacred circles by the bride and the groom around the Tulsi plant signify the sanctity and purity of marriage. In Manipuri wedding the guests are given ‘Dakshina’ or token money for coming to the occasion. ‘Mangani Choukaba’ is the last ceremony in a Manipuri wedding where the parents of the bride visit her at her husband’s home to check on her well being. The newlyweds are presented with rice, alcohol, money and pigs to mark their new journey.
Wedding in Nagaland
In Nagaland different tribes have different customs and rituals. Apart from the Konyak chiefs, the tribals of the same clan do not inter marry. The Angami tribal members strangle a fowl prior to the declaration of marriage. The Mongsen tribal members send the couple on a trading journey for 20 days in which they have to conduct successful trade in order to sanctify the marriage. The Sema tribe is polygamous and one wife is given the status of head wife. The Lothas and Changs are also polygamous.