The beauty of Assamese Muslims Marriage:
Marriage is also known as matrimony or wedlock. It is one of the universal social institutions. Marriage is socially as well as ritually recognized as a union between the spouses that establishes rights and obligations between those spouses. It was established by human society to control the sex life of man. The sexual satisfaction offered by marriage results in self-perpetuation. It insists the couple to establish a family of procreation and here the children are born and bred up.
As marriage is a universal social institution, we find it in almost all the communities. Every community has their own set of rules and names for the term ‘marriage. In the same way, the Muslims also has their own name for marriage and their own set of rituals. Muslim use the Arabic word ‘Nikah’ for marriage.
Assam is the land of different communities and every community has their own charm of marriage. The Assamese Muslims are no less in adding their own charm to the Assamese Muslim Marriage. The Assamese Muslim wedding brings a bunch of happiness with its every ceremony and both the bride and bridegroom’s family enjoy every single ceremony.
Muslim marriages have different ceremonies but Assamese Muslim Marriage is different from the rest of India in 11 (eleven) unique ways-
- The first ceremony of Assamese Muslims wedding is the ring ceremony or “Anguthi Pindhuwa”. The Assamese Muslims celebrates this event as a pre-wedding celebration, few months before the actual marriage. The Assamese Muslims use the Assamese word “Juron” to refer to this celebration. The bride is gifted the ring by her Mother in law and thus the new relation gets an official name on the presence of the bride and bridegroom’s family, relatives and guests.
- The second ceremony- Maah haladhi and the bath. This is one of the ceremonies which take place a day before the nikah. The applying of Haladhi(turmeric) and Moong Dal paste on the neck, hands, face, and feet of the bride and bride-groom and then making them a bath in presence of the relatives, in their respective homes, is an age-old tradition. The children and the younger members of the family make the ceremony more joyous by demanding money from the bride and bride-grom for applying Maah haladhi. The singing of “Biya Naam” (Marriage songs) was a part of it but gradually with time people has almost stopped singing the marriage songs.
- The Assamese Muslim bridegroom chooses a savior to be with him, to accompany him and help him till the Nikah gets over. The Assamese Muslim people gave the savior a unique name, Tumuli or Dus. The Tumuli or Dus is usually the close friend of the bride-groom whom he can trust. He is the most interesting and the funniest character in Assamese Muslims marriage. The Tumuli or Dus saves the bridegroom from all the questions with instant answers, thrown to the bridegroom by the female relatives of the bride’s family. The Tamuli automatically loses his importance as the bride takes over his place and gets the official control over her newlywed husband.
- Clothes enhance the beauty of the bride and the bridegroom. But traditional dress makes them look more beautiful. The dress for the bride is “Mekhela Sador”. The “Mekhela Sador” is an Assamese traditional saree in a two-piece, draped around the bride’s body. To add a cherry to the cake, the bride is given traditional ornaments and modern Jewellery to wear. The groom has his own dress code too. He wears a sherwani and a Paguri(Turban) on his head which adds a royal touch to his dress. The next of the nikah is the reception which is generally hosted by the groom’s family. Here formal suit is seen wearing for centuries.
- The Dora Adora (welcoming of the bridegroom and Tamuli), the most awaited ceremony. This is the ceremony for which the kids wait for the most. Sometimes it is seen that the younger ones of the bride’s family block the way of the bride-groom and Tamuli at the entrance by tying a ribbon. The younger ones demand from the bride-groom and don’t allow him to enter until and unless he agrees to pay. The bridegroom and Tamuli are made to sit on beautifully decorated chairs which are specially kept for them. Kids welcome them with garlands, sprinkles rose water and apply Attar (Islamic fragrance) on their dresses. It is followed by feeding both of them with milk and sweets. The Dora( bridegroom) and the tamuli both give gifts to the kids for welcoming them.
- Tamul-Paan (Areca Nut and betel leaf) has a great importance in our Assamese society. The most unique ceremony that takes place only in Assamese Muslims Marriages is the ‘exchange of tradition trays.’ The traditional tray is called ‘bota’ in the Assamese language. In Assamese Muslims wedding the ‘bota’s containing Tamul Pan are exchanged by both the families, soon after the Dora Adora ceremony.
- Here comes the most important ceremony of a Muslim marriage, The Qubul hain time and “Moi kobul Korisu” for Assamese Muslim Marriages. The presence of the guardians, families, relatives, and guests both the bride and bridegroom are asked to announce them new relation and if they accept their new relation to this they reply with the famous quote “Moi kobul Korisu” which means “I accept”.
- Soon after the acceptance of the new relation by the new couples, the groom’s family members distribute laddus to the people, popularly known as “Nikah Laddu”. It is followed by delicious lunch or dinner depending upon the time. The menu in Assamese Muslims Marriage is extremely mouth watering. It includes kurmas, Pulaws, Paratha, Chicken Roast. Kofta, Kabab, Fish Fry and the likes.
- Before the new bride is taken to her new home, the in-laws make the bride change her dress. The bride is made to wear the new mekhela Sadar, pieces of jewelry and shoes brought for her by her in-laws.
- There is one last ceremony in Assamese Muslims wedding before the groom leaves the bride’s home with his better half. The Dorai Cake Kota ceremony (the cake cutting ceremony by the bridegroom). The groom is asked to cut the cake kept right in front of him but for that, he has to find the knife which the girl’s of the bride’s family hides it somewhere. Failing to it the groom has to pay a huge penalty as demanded by the girls. The groom usually looses in the last, the most unique and happening ceremony of Assamese Muslim Marriage because winning over girls is no easy.
- The bride on reaching her new home receives a warm welcome. Her feet are washed in a bowl of perfumed water by the groom’s family (mostly girls and children). The bride in return shower the entrance floor with coins of different denominations. The kids jump over each other competing to collect the most of them. This is how she steps into a whole new journey of her life