Something Fishy: Importance and Auspiciousness of Fish In a Bengali Wedding
Fish is one of the most important parts of a Bengali wedding and it remains incomplete without including it. Starting from the rituals to the decoration, presence of fish makes a Bengali wedding auspicious in more ways than one. In addition to this, most of the sumptuous dishes of the Bengalis are prepared using fish. A Bengali Matrimony is a detailed affair that continues for over three to four days and food is a star attraction of a majority of Bengali weddings as they are food lovers. From the first day of the wedding to the final day of the reception, fish is part of every occasion as it is considered auspicious not only for the bride and the groom but the entire family as well.
The following points highlight the importance of fish in Bengali weddings and its use in this occasion.
Gastronomical delight: There are more than hundred recipes of fish which is prepared in the weddings although the taste varies from one region to another. Some of the popular dishes of fish include Golda Chingri Malaikari which is made with lobsters and the gravy includes coconut milk and onion. Similarly, Hilsa is another fish which is prepared using mustard paste and is considered a delectable dish for the Bengalis. In fact, there are several such dishes that grace a Bengali wedding.
Treating both the families: While the affairs on the day of the wedding are primarily arranged in the house of the bride, the family of the groom makes preparations to welcome the guests on the day of the reception. In both these occasions, fish is prepared in different forms from fried fish to curry and gravy. Although new dishes are prepared in modern Bengali weddings. The traditional menus have lot lost their aura still.
Looking at a fish: When the bride enters the house of her in-laws after the day of the wedding, a fish is shown to her as it is considered auspicious just as a new member becomes apart of the household.
Decorating a fish: In Bengali weddings, a fish decorated with vermilion is sent to either household to mark the beginning of an auspicious occasion. This fish is then eaten either in fried form or curry according to the family tradition.
Motifs of fish: In Bengali weddings, the gifts are specially wrapped before sending them to the household of the bride and groom. However, such gifts have special motifs and fish is one of them which are often made with a sari which is an ensemble for the bride. Similarly, sweets are also decorated in the form of fish when they are sent as gifts to both household.
Served in aiburo bhaat: The day before the occasion of wedding is also known as aiburo bhaat and the head of the fish is fried and served to them along with other preparations of fish such as bhekti paturi, topshey fry and other preparations that the bride and groom eats when they are yet not married.
Fish is certainly one of the important emblems of Bengali Matrimony and it is followed in every wedding although the availability of fish may not be similar in all the places.