The traditions of an Indian wedding are old and unique. People have little spare time these days. So, many traditions are being omitted. The ones that survive by virtue of their value and worth are observed. One such tradition is of tying a sacred thread on the wrists of the groom and the bride by their respective families prior to wedding. These threads are removed at the house of the groom in the presence of relatives after the religious ceremonies are over.
Originated long ago, the tradition of gana banana (tying the sacred thread) is also known as the rasam of kangna. It is believed that since the thread is sanctified by the family priest, it protects the persons tying the knot. The younger brothers of the groom and the younger sisters of the bride apply some sticky material on the knots to make it difficult to untie it. Even the learned believe that since it carries positive vibes, it is empowered to protect.
The tradition had started long ago when the bride and groom were not allowed to see each other before the wedding. And this tradition would allow them to catch a glimpse of each other when allowed to play the game of kangna.
The married couple is asked to play this game by the nain. Some milk mixed with sufficient water (kutchi lassi) is prepared in a big dish called praat. In this mixture, some rice grain and turmeric powder is mixed. It then no longer remains transparent. First, the bride unbinds the sacred thread of the groom. The women sing: ‘Kangna khohl piariye tere devran bahnia, manmohnian bahnia’ (Dear bride, untie the sacred thread that the handsome younger brothers of your groom have tied).
Then, the groom unties the bride’s thread and the women sing: ‘Kangna khohl piaria teri salian bahnia, baran talian bahnia’ (Dear groom, untie the sacred thread that the clever sisters of your bride have tied). The nain then takes the bride’s ring and throws it into the mixture, along with a silver coin. Now, both the bride and the groom are allowed to locate these two objects, with both of them trying to intentionally touch each other’s hands. Doing so, they would even try to see each other’s face for the first time.
People would believe that finding the ring and the coin would prove who among the couple was smarter. The one who would find any object first was treated as intelligent and resourceful. The other one was supposed to play second fiddle in the matrimonial alliance in future.
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