Simplicity and straightforwardness well sums up an Oriya wedding. A wedding truly reflects the cultural essence of a community. An Oriya wedding sticks true to this statement. While weddings no doubt are a joyous occasion, the Oriya weddings are devoid of any extravagance or opulence. Let us find out the simple and essential customs that constitutes a wedding of the Oriyas.

Nirbandh: This ritual formally marks the engagement of the couple. The fathers of both the bride and the groom take an oath that they will wed their children. It takes place at the bride's place. Interestingly, the bride and the groom themselves do not participate in the ritual.

Jayee anukolo: This marks the initiation of the wedding rituals in an Oriya wedding. This is followed by the distribution of nimantran patras (invitation cards) for the upcoming wedding. The first card is sent to the family deity or Lord Jagannath (in Puri). The bride/groom's maternal uncle receives the second invitation card.

Mangan: During mangan, the bride is blessed and is applied haladi bata (turmeric paste) by seven married women. She is then taken for the ceremonial bath. This is done prior to the D-day for her beautification.

Jairagodo anukolo: This ritual marks the stoking of the fire after the bride is given her ceremonial bath.

Diya mangula puja: The diya mangula puja refers to the prayers offered at the devi's (goddess) temple. The female barber of the family offers the bride's wedding sari, sindoor, bangles and toe rings to the goddess, invoking happiness and prosperity for the bride in her conjugal life.

Barajatri: Barajatri refers to the arrival of the groom along with his kinsmen at the wedding venue with much pomp and gaiety. On his arrival, the groom is welcomed by the bride's mother with an aarti and a tilak of rice. The other members are also warmly greeted and escorted with respect inside the venue.

Baadu pani gaadhua: As soon as the groom sets his foot inside the venue, somebody from the bride's family informs the bride of the same. She is then taken for her ceremonial bath just before the rituals actually begin.

Kanyadaan: The wedding rituals begin with the kanyadaan ceremony wherein the bride's father gives her away to the groom with the promise that he will take good care of his loving daughter. The ceremony takes place at the bibaha bedi (a structure that is decorated with lots of fresh flowers and leaves).

Saptapadi: Saptapadi refers to the seven rounds around the fire by the couple. Seven heaps of rice symbolizing the saptakulaparwata (the seven hills) are worshiped by the couple.

Haatha ghanti: This ritual brings an end to the wedding rituals. Here, the couple offers lajja (puffed rice) as ahuti (sacrifice) to the holy fire. The bride's brother, standing close to the couple offers the lajja to the bride who then offers it to the fire jointly with her husband amidst the chanting of mantras and shlokas.

Sala bidha: At this point, there is a fun ritual which involves the bride's brother (sala) giving the groom a punch (bidha) on his back so as to remind him of his duties towards his sister.

Kauri khela: Kauri khela refers to the playing of kauri (conch shell) by the newlywed couple. It is believed to bring wealth and harmony. The groom holds a kauri in his fist which the bride tries to open with both her hands. In the next round, the bride makes a tight fist with both her hands and keeps the kauri inside. The groom tries to open it using his single hand.

Saasu dahi pakhala khia: After the games are over, the mother of the bride makes the groom sit on her lap and feeds him curd pakhala (rice and curd) along with baigana poda (spicy mashed eggplant).

Bahuna: Bahuna refers to the tradition of mourning with rhythmic songs (bahuna gita composed by anonymous poets) narrating different tales by the bride's mother. Elderly women of the house also join in while bidding adieu to the bride.

Grihapravesh: The newlyweds are greeted warmly at the groom's house by his mother (who does not participate in the wedding ceremonies at the bride's place). As the bride is considered an avatar of Goddess Lakshmi, she is made to enter the household by gently spreading the rice kept in a vessel at the threshold.

Chauthi/Basara rati: This refers to the fourth day after the wedding when the newlyweds spend their first night together. During the day, a puja is performed which includes burning a coconut to roast its inside. Meanwhile, the couple's room is decorated with fresh flowers for the night. As night dawns, the bride carries a glass of kesara doodh (saffron milk) for the groom. She also lights up the basara dipa (an earthen lamp) beside the bed as a symbol of long-lasting glowing relationship. The couple is then made to eat the roasted coconut after which they finally retire for the night.

Ashtha mangala: On the eighth day after the wedding, the bride and the groom visits the bride's maternal home. They are treated to a lavish feast comprising of authentic Oriya dishes. This marks the end of all festivities related to the wedding.