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In Bengali, “Aiburo” means bachelor and “Bhat” means rice. The word “Aiburobhat” means having “Bhat” or rice being a bachelor or ‘Aiburo’. Aiburobhat takes place on the previous day of the wedding ceremony. Both of bride and groom have final rice being a bachelor in their home that day.

        Bengali wedding tradition is famous for its extraordinary style. It has its own appeal among the other Indian weddings. Unlike other weddings, Bengali wedding rituals are not biased towards glamour or loud grandiosity but its entirety lies in a cosy affection. The affections and blessings of elders bring a homely elegance in the whole occasion; there comes the context of “Aiburobhat” (Bengali Bridal Shower).


The Occasion

Bhat” or rice has significance in Bengali culture. It symbolises the prosperity in Bengali houses. Among the food items, it holds the position next to God. Not only that, feeding someone rice means showing love, affection and care to him or her.

On the occasion of “Aiburobhat” rice is served to the would-be bride or groom with delicious dishes, especially various fishes and sweets. There would-be bride/groom sits to have the meal wearing new clothes gifted by his or her parents. Usually bride wears a new saree called “Aiburobhat saree” and some gold pieces. Then the elders offer blessings to him or her. The parents turn comes first following other relatives and invitees to give blessings. A diya or puja lamp is lightened at left. As the bride or groom takes his or her first bite “sankha” and “uloo” (a particular sound made by females by swinging their tongues) is blown. “Aiburobhat” gifts are very special too. Cute things like perfumes, jewellery, wallets or sometimes gold pieces (by closed ones) are given as gifts.

Aiburobhat Saree

Unlike the main wedding occasion, the would-be bride prepares herself in a pampered girly look. There is a touch of simplicity in her whole attire. The makeups, the jewellery, the clothing all are much simple as compared to the heavy dramatic look of wedding evening. She presents herself in a new saree gifted by her parents. That is the “Aiburobhat saree”.

The look depicts the pamper, care, affection and the blessings of the parents for the next crucial phase of her (bride’s) life. However other elderly persons or colleagues or friends can gift the bride with Aiburobhat saree.

Aiburobhat Menu 

           Aiburobhat menu is not much formal, but a simple and homely menu full of traditional dishes. “Moong daal” , “Panch rokom bhaja” (five vegetables fried crispy) and “Maacher matha” (fish head) either fried or curry – are mandatory in menu. Besides various sweets, among which “Misti doi” (Sweet Yogurt) is the most important are included.

For example : Moong daal, Fried vegetables ( potato, brinjal , pumpkin, pointed gourd or Potol, beans), Cauliflower curry , Maacher matha (fish head) fried or curry, Fish kalia, Prawn curry , Chutney , Misti doi (Sweet Yogurt), Rasogolla, Sandesh( Bengali sweets) can be an ideal Aiburobhat menu. Usually, all the dishes are prepared by the mother and other female elders of the family. All the favourite dishes of the would-be bride or groom are included in the menu.
Aiburovat Thali

Aiburobhat— Not A Single Day Program

            Here comes the fun part of the Bengali wedding rituals. All are welcomed to offer Aiburobhat. The aunts or elderly cousins, grandmothers, close neighbours and sometimes colleagues and friends too offer Aiburobhat. One bride or groom can have a number of Aiburobhat.   Apart from the actual wedding event, “Aiburobhat” may be seemed as an extra addition to enhance the event. But the real thing is the importance of this event lies in the core of everlasting relationship between parents and children. The whole occasion tells that in every situation parents will be always there. In every phase of their lives, they will get support, advice, inspiration. They will feel the warmth of that divine love even in the hardest time of their lives – that is the significance of Bengali wedding traditions. Like the other rituals, Aiburobhat is rewarded with the myriad shower of parents’ blessings. From the Aiburobhat attire (especially Aiburobhat saree) to the simple yet rich Aiburobhat menu— the whole occasion tells the eternal bonding between parents and children.  That is how the occasion is worthy to be a part of Bengali wedding traditions.

Writer: Sutapa Chatterjee