Kayastha is a Hindu ethnic sub-caste and they are the only ones who are Brahmins as well as Kshatriyas. Traditionally writing is the basic profession of Kayastha people. They deeply believe in their cultural heritage and marry within their community. Kayastha wedding ceremony is conducted with grandeur and lots of pomp and show. There is generally arranged marriage that happens with the consent of the elders between the girl and the boy. The celebrations start with the engagement ceremony where the prospective bride and the groom exchange rings at bride’s house or some other venue. The bride’s father then presents gift to the groom’s family members as well as to his close relatives which popularly known as milni ceremony. The bride’s family also sends a large bucket of fruits, sweets and clothes to the groom’s house.
Auspicious date is then finalized for the wedding by consulting an astrologer after which the wedding preparations start. The list of invitees is exchanged between both the families so that the arrangement can be made according to that. Generally, every guest is given a gift which is known as ‘sobha’. The days between engagement and marriage is known as courtship period where the bride and the groom try to know each other better and become comfortable with other’s family members.
Among Kayastha, wedding celebrations start with bhat nyotna which is celebrated 2-3 days before the marriage. On this occasion the grandparents and uncles from bride’s mother side make a visit and bless their grand daughter on her wedding and present her gifts. After this the invitation letter is distributed to all the relatives from the maternal side.
A day before the wedding day, mehndi ceremony is applied on the hands of the bride/groom and on other close female relatives. While the mehndi is applied the day is celebrated with lots of dance and music.
On the wedding day, the Kayastha bride wakes up early in the morning and visit to the temple to preach and take blessings from goddess Parvati and wishes for her happy married life in future. After this Haldi ceremony follows where the paste of turmeric powder along with besan is applied on bride/groom body. Both then take bath in their respective homes and get dressed in their traditional wedding clothes.
During this time bride’s brother make a visit to apply tilak on groom’s forehead and take gifts along for groom’s family. The groom then leaves with the baraat which is a marriage procession that starts from groom’s house. He is seated on a horse or decorated car and leaves for bride’s house or to the wedding venue along with his relatives with drums and instruments playing throughout. In Indian marriages grooms on arriving at the venue are welcomed by the relatives from the bride side by putting garlands around their neck and showering perfume and flowers. In most weddings crackers are also burst.
After the arrival, puja is performed by the groom after whom he walks towards the stage. The bride enters and both exchange garlands with lot of celebration as the youngsters shout with zeal to support the bride and the groom. After this, they again go back to the entrance where baahar-ke-phere ritual is performed in which the groom is requested to stand on stool (chowki) and maternal uncle holds the bride and takes three rounds around the groom while the pundit chants few mantras.
The bride and the groom then sit side by side in a mandap and they are made to take vows that they will take each others responsibility and will remain faithful for life. Both the parents perform their duties while the pundit is chanting mantras and the couple take seven circle around the fire after which they are formally declared as a married couple. The vidaai ceremony follows where the bride leaves her parents house enter into her husband’s home.