Banias And Their Marriage Rituals

People spend their whole lives looking for a perfect match. The procedure of finding a suitable bride or groom is almost same in every culture with the categorization of it being a love or an arranged marriage. Marriages are made in heaven, but are given a final nod by our parents. In almost all Indian families parents are the final decision makers for choosing the life partner for their children.

Though, the cultures and traditions of all the marriages resolve the purpose of celebrating the marriage with great pop and gaiety and to bless the couple for their successful married life. The marriage ceremonies and rituals vary according to the traditions and cultural background of a particular community. There are few communities in the country which are present all over the world and are defined according to their business and work culture. One of such communities is Banias, they are the people involved in the business like banking, money- lending, or the people dealing with the selling of products like, grains, groceries, spices and oil. Banias can be the people with sir names like Aggarwal, Agarwal, Baniya, Bani, Agarwal Marwari, Banikar, Oswal, Marwari, Mahajan, etc.

These people are popularly known as the thrifty or the penny- pinching community, but their marriages are celebrated at a very large scale with lavishing food and arrangements. Most of the Jains and Hindus constitute the Bania community. The people who follow Hindu religion are called Meshris, where others following Jain culture are called Shravaks. The Banias marriage date are supposed to be fixed by the parents during the time period of Kartika Sud i.e. 11th of October- November to Asarba Sud, i.e. 11th of June- July.

The marriage ceremony in a Bania family starts with the worship of Ganpati ji in both the houses of the bride and the groom, which is performed few days before the actual day of marriage. The ganpati pooja is organized to seek blessing from the god and the ceremony is called Mandav. The decoration of the marriage Mandav is done after the prayers. Then the ladies of the house go to a potters place, signing and dancing, as a procession, there they sprinkle sandalwood powder and flowers on the potters wheel, after which they bring earthen pots back home to be, used in the marriage ceremonies.

A day before the marriage both the Bania families, carry gifts and wedding dress for bride and groom to each others house respectively. The bride and the groom do not participate in these rituals. The wedding dress of the bania bride and the groom is usually a lehnga- choli or saree and a sherwani or kurta pyjami respectively.

On the day of the wedding, both the houses are decorated with all lights and flowers, all the family members, friends and distant relatives are invited to attend the wedding ceremony. To begin with the marriage day ceremonies, balls of cow dung ashes are thrown in all the four directions, meanwhile the brides mother takes seven circular rounds around the groom holding curd in two earthen pots, which afterwards are crushed by the right foot of the groom allowing him to enter the Brides house or the place of marriage.
Then the mother of the Bania bride washes the feet of the groom with honey, curd, sugar, milk and ghee to add the purifying factor. After this, the actual marriage ceremonies take place of Kanyadan (a ritual where the parents gives away the responsibility of their daughter to the groom for the lifetime), phere (seven circles around the sacred fire to promise each others support in all walks of life), after which the groom applies sindur or read powder on the forehead of the groom and then makes her wear a mangalsutra, marking the proof of a married women. All this leads to the completion of the Bania marriage ceremonies, which are more or less like a Hindu marriage.

Then the Bidayi ceremony takes place, a part of which the Bania bride moves away to the grooms house to lead a happy married life. The carriage or the car carrying the bride towards her new house is made to crush a coconut to mark a pure and happy beginning of their married life.