B = Boron

Boron refers to the welcome of the bride and the groom to each others house in Bengal. The groom’s welcome occurs before the wedding while the bride’s welcome occurs after the wedding. The customs and traditions associated with this welcome varies in different parts of the country.

In Bengali weddings, when the groom reaches the house of bride, the bride’s mother accords him a special welcome amidst conch shell blowing (by the way, just to set the record straight – that is not my picture in the previous post 😉 ) and ululations by the gathered married women folk.

For boron, the groom is felicitated by the bride’s mother in an elaborate ritual where  several items are kept on a bamboo winnow (kulo) like betel leaves, earthen lamp, dhruv (grass stem with three leaves) etc each of which has a symbolic meaning. In this ritual, winnow is touched to the groom’s forehead then to the ground and again to his forehead by the bride’s mother. As an elder, the gesture is part blessing, and part reverence, since the groom embodies Lord Vishnu’s  on the day of the wedding.

Boron customs vary even within Bengalis. As a 7 year old, I remember my aunt doing the boron of my cousin’s groom. One custom involved my aunt measuring the groom’s length with the aid of a reel of cotton. To my utter astonishment, my aunt then proceeded to swallow the entire length of the thread albeit after placing the rolled up ball in a portion of banana. Apparently, this custom symbolized the groom becoming a son to her. Interestingly, there doesn’t seem to be any such equivalent custom for the bride 😀

On the other hand, it’s the Gujarati grooms who have a rather uncomfortable welcome (known as the Ponkvu) at the bride’s home. After the traditional welcome (aarti) by the mother-in-law,  she playfully tries to grab his nose at the entrance. Apparently this is to remind the groom that he has come rubbing his nose at the girl’s door asking for her hand from her parents. Nowadays, not only the mother-in-law but any or all his in-laws (especially females) tend to have a go at the groom’s nose (and or of his friends!). As one can imagine this custom is involves a lot of fun and laughter and helps to break the nose, err I mean, the ice.

Ohh I could go on and on! But then I don’t want want to scare you off 😉 Have a great weekend and see you all on Monday.

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Quote for the day: “Enter freely and of your own free will!” Bram Stoker, Dracula
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