Aeki Beki – The Tradition
Weddings are one of the most loved social customs in India. Usually, a very grand affair it is often said that a marriage is not only the union of two individuals but also of two families. Considering this, one can imagine that the fun, fare and celebrations most definitely hit the roof.
India is the one place on earth that is home to probably hundreds of wedding rituals and customs. Each community, religion, and region have their own specific ways and step by step instructions of how a wedding celebration proceeds.
It is almost like climbing a mountain where there are regular stops to make before embarking on the journey again. The specifications begin from when the boy and his family visit a girl’s house to see her. This is in most probability is their first meeting. When they both agree to take it forward after the first meeting, one grade after another is passed culminating and building up to reach the crescendo of marriage. However, the celebrations and rituals do not halt here. They continue post the main marriage functions. One such celebration is Aeki Beki.
In India, you will rarely find a boring wedding. And we have very specific standards of what this means. A wedding is always an affair of enjoyment for the families, friends, and society. To grab some private time once the whole wedding frenzy begins is almost impossible for the couple. However, there are multiple moments that allow you to be close to your spouse under public scrutiny. It is these moments that make the marriage special.
Aeki Beki is one such tradition that though carried out in front of the entire household with lots of cheering and noise, is in reality, one of those special times when the couple shares a very intimate moment. This ceremony is carried out post Vidaai. Vidaai is the only forlorn moment during the wedding period. It is here when the bride says goodbye to her family and friends and walks away with her groom to begin life with him. Once the bride arrives at the groom’s house the celebrations kick start again and mood swings to that of chatter and fun.
When the bride arrives at her new home, the couple is made to sit opposite each other. A bowl filled with water, milk, sindoor and vermillion is placed in front of them. Inside this colorful mixture, a ring is dropped along with coins and other metal objects. The game now begins. Both the bride and groom dive for the bowl and are supposed to fish out the ring. The one who is able to find the ring first wins. The excitement is no less than the final over of a cricket match. Each of them is cheered as the onlookers encourage them to up their game. In the midst of all the noise, their eyes and hands meet and there is a connection made for life.
As mentioned earlier, since each community, religion and region have a different way of conducting the wedding rituals; Aeki Beki also is practiced in slightly varying versions. The basic concept remains the same; however there can be a few subtle changes. Sometimes, the mixture contains only water with color and flower petals and is whisked hard until the ring is lost in the foam. Two or one rings are put in the bowl and the game is played for 7 seven times. The one who wins 4 times out of 7 is said to be dominating the relation. In some traditions, the one who finds the ring first is said to have an upper hand in the marriage. If both find the ring together there is said to be a balance.
Aeki Beki, is a perfect ice breaker for the couple if they happen to not know each other too well. On the other hand, even if the couple is very comfortable with each, this game a great way to enjoy themselves. As friends for life, they hand in hand emerge from all as the winner.