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Bishnupriya Manipuri Marriage system


The institution of Marriage in Bishnupriya Manipuri society is based on the Hindu pattern and mostly Aryan and non-Aryan elements having certain traditional customs. Out of the eight kind of marriage as referred in the Monu Songhita only Brahma (Based upon Vedic Rites) and Kanya or Prajapatya are prevalent in the Society. The marriage takes place after the proposals made by the Parents or guardians of the would-be bride-groom. During the marriage ceremony, special kind of rules and customs are observed. These customs include Waroupath, Hijapath, Lohong, Koina Thilkarani,Tindinkar Chana, Pachor bhat,Phamlokpa etc.   


Lohong Pictorial



The swayamvara, another kind of marriage that was in vogue in the early period, is unknown to Manipur, but there is the practice of Gandharva (secret union) system . The secret marriage of Arjuna with Chitrangoda, the princes of Manipur, suggests as the Gandharva style of marriage.
Marriage is restricted within this community.There is the restriction of marriage among the Gutra's and Swapinda's. Fairly Child-marriage was practised. But no more now and Widow re-marriage is very rare in the society.What is good is that there is no dowry system at all in the modern Bishnupriya Manipuri Soceity.

 

Arrangement( Lepkorani)
Marriages are performed in accordance with the customs. Before the marriage parents of the boy or their recognized parsons go to meet parents of the girl. The horoscopes are tallied and if both the parents agree then the next date for the meeting is fixed. On the next meeting the consent is given by the girl's parents.

Waroupoth
The next stage is 'Waroipot puba' and the groom's family members bring food and the contract is finally sealed. 

Hijapoth
Finally the engagement is declared amongst the friends and relatives, this is called 'Hijapoth'. Friends and relatives from the boy's side then go to the girl's parents with food, fruits and presents. The girl's parents also invite their friends and relatives. 

The procession
A Bishnupriya Manipuri marriage party is of a great show but little is wasted for giving meals. A marriage attended by a procession of peoples, Band parties and Palki's , considered a status symbol.

The reception
 The men dress in dhoti and kurta with a shawl wrapped around and women in "Lahing" or "Chakshabi"es and white chader. The reception is very formal. At the entrance of the gate a Sambhasa welcomes the marriage party. Later the groom is received according to traditional way of reception by the bride side. The arrangement for sitting of the marriage party is commonly made in the house very next to the bride's house.

The Bride and The Groom
The bridal dress is unique. It is obligatory for the bride to wear the Raslila skirt. The groom's dress is white dhoti, kurta and turban. 

The Marriage (Lohong)
The whole marriage is maintained and under the charge of the Brahmin. Before the main part a Pala is performed and it continues till the end of the marriage . Kirtana music is started when the bride and the bride make seven rounds round the Groom. The bride follows the steps in rhythmic styles with the pala music. She has to perform the role of a gopi.
There are many good points in Manipuri marriages. There is no stress on huge expenditure. The kabok, ladoos and sweets are distributed after the marriage ceremony. The guests are given Dakshina. The dowry is not as a compulsion but voluntary. The parents of the girl provide essential items for her use such as utensils, sewing machine, implements, clothes etc.    More on BPM marriage


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Last updated in May 22, 2001 
Copyright � 2001  Ashim Kumar Singha
All rights reserved

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