I went to India for a month to attend my sister's marriage. As you all know, when it comes to marriages, it is the biggest event for Indian family. It's all about celebrations, gifts and endless enjoyment. The rituals slightly vary and are unique to the region depending on the community you belong to. West Bengal, the state from where I am is mainly resided by Bengalis. Bengali marriage is typically of three days of celebrations following month long preparations. There can be a book long discussion with every ritual and every preparation for it.I'm not going in every detail of it but focusing mainly in one ritual in which my Artist heart took part.As a custom, both the bride and groom's family exchange gifts. On the day of the marriage, groom's family send gifts to bride as a blessings which is called "Gatraharidra Tatwa" which includes Sarees, cosmetics and accessories along with a fish and sweets. However, on the third day of marriage bride's family send gifts to the groom's family as a blessings to the newly married couple.The idea behind this "Fulosajja tatwa" is to contribute something to the newly married ones to start their journey together.
As we were from the bride's side we were supposed to send the gifts for "Fulsajjar Tatwa". With the evolution of marriage one custom started that is to wrap the gifts in decorative ways. My guess is that it started with some creative mind in some family and everybody liked the idea so much that finally it was included as a custom. Now-a-days, with our busy lifestyle and lack of time most of the time it becomes a burden. There are some professionals or expert creative people just to help you wrap the gifts. And I must admit that's a great help and they do a real good job.
I went home two weeks before marriage and decided to wrap all the gifts by my own with the help of my dad in a simple way so that I can help in other preparation without investing lot of time in it. As a craft loving person it was an opportunity for me to do what I enjoy the most.
I made designs on some strip of papers to use these as borders on the gift box. It was fun as my dad even my sister was providing new ideas.
Strip of papers which I used as borders of the gift boxes.
Other than wrapping the gifts we need to prepare a list of gifts which is called "tatwasuchi" we decided to make a palanquin which is generally known as "palki" in Bengal. In ancient India it was the mode of transportation specially for women. With the introduction and evolution of automobile the use of palki declined and mainly was used for the marriage to carry the bride to the groom's house. I used a box to make the structure. My dad made the poles with paper and the curtain. Curtain was the hardest part as we were struggling to glue it to the box.
My Niece with the 'Palki"