Friday, December 3, 2021

The People


Ahoms Marriage 

In the case of Ahoms, no marriage is allowed within the same clan. Many customs followed in an Ahom wedding are common to all Assamese communities. The joron ceremony, daiyan and gathiyan are same as others.

The system of Saklang, which means marriage, is the usually accepted norm in Ahom society. A good girl is pointed out and the boy's people  go to ask for her hand with the 'Sodhanibhar', consisting of betel nuts and leaves, rice, ducks, etc. If nothing objectionable in the boy's family is found, a day is fixed for the girl's people to come and see how the boy's family lives. Then a date for wedding is fixed.

Wedding ceremony :

The bridegroom sits in the courtyard; the bride is brought in and she walks seven times round the bride groom. She then sits down by his side. After this both rise and proceed  to a room screened off from  the guests. Here one end of the cloth is tied round the neck of the bride, the other being fastened to the bridegroom's waist. They walk to a corner, where nine vessels, full of water have been placed on plantain leaves, the Siring phukam (or master of the ceremonies) reads from the 'Saklang puthi'; and three cups containing milk, honey and rice frumenty are produced, which the bride and the bride groom have to smell.  After the bride and the bride groom have exchanged knives, some uncooked rice is brought in a basket, into which, rings are plunged by the bride and the bridegroom, respectively, unknown to each other - it being the intention  that each should discover the other's ring and wear it on the finger. The exchange of knives and rings is the binding part of the ceremony. Bride and bridegroom are then taken outside and do sewa (homages) to the bride's parents and the people assembled, and the marriage is complete.

Two days before the wedding, the priest goes to a river or tank to perform pujas to God Khoakham  offering rice, eggs, betel nuts and betel leaves. He then " fishes" with a jokai, a bamboo fishing implement, in the water three times. If any fish is caught, it will be cooked and given to the boy and the girl to eat. This is meant for protection against any untoward happening. The day before the wedding the deoban ceremony is performed to worship various Ahom gods. The priest gives words of advice to the newly-weds from  the Ahom holy books on the rights and duties of married life. The past history of seven generation of the two families is recounted to them. After this, the couple is taken inside the bride's house and the customs of exchange of rings, taking of panchamrita, playing games of dice or cowries are gone through.