U = Uludhvani

A very peculiar and unique feature of Bengali weddings is the blowing of conch shells and ululation by the women during most of the ceremonies.

Ululation or ululudhvani as it known as literally means ‘ululu sound’. In this custom, women roll their tongues and produce a long, wavering, high-pitched vocal sound that is accompanied with a rapid sideways movement of the tongue. Ululation is an integral part of weddings, indeed all festivities. The ululudhvani along with the blowing of conch shells helps to ward off the evil spirits and bring in positive energies. It also serves to alert the other members of the household that some important event is ongoing and enables them to rush to the site of activity for timely participation.

In fact ululudhvani is also used as a communication code. In earlier days, when were large and all lived together in a big house, when a child was born (or news arrived) , three ululus signified a girl and 5 a boy. Quite useful and innovative dont you think – very much like posting on Facebook! No need to go around knocking on each door or listen to complaints about why didnt you tell me first or even better, use it to crow over another without being accused of doing so 😀

That reminds me of a joke:- Once two brothers split and stopped talking to each other. Time passed and the elder brother’s son died. As per custom, he invited all the villagers for the Shradh ceremony (ritualistic customs held typically 13 days after death where the invited guests are also served a meal) except his younger brother. He was furious and vowed vengeance. “When my son dies, even I won’t invite him for the Shradh.

In Kerala as well, ululation, called kurava, is an essential accompaniment in all ceremonial occasions. Ululation is present in other parts of the country as well. Odias call it Hulahuli; Assamese call it uruli. In Tamil it is known as kulavai.

Quote of the day: “We are all a little weird and life’s a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.” -Robert Fulghum

Well what about it – got anything to say, add or comment? I am waiting….

For links to the other A to Z challenge posts, click here

Published by

Dahlia

Email me at mysilverstreaks@gmail.com or tweet me @mysilverstreaks

10 thoughts on “U = Uludhvani”

  1. As kids we used to fave fun when elders used to do this at functions…..practising in chorus from some corner of the room….only problem was we used to get confused with the timing….and then our howling would stand out :D…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I grew up hearing ululation in East Africa. I used to think it was an African custom (during weddings and Goma – African dance) Then in the UK I attended a Bengali Durga Puja and I heard ululudhvani. Ululation is prevalent in many countries and cultures to celebrate weddings .births and victories. I wonder where did it originate.

    Liked by 1 person

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