Video | Marriage customs of the Santals: A large mural created by village artists to express their cultural identity – West Bengal


Marriage Reception

A Santal marriage takes five days and involves various, often complex, rituals. On the day of the Gidi-chumara (Marriage Reception) the women arrive to bless the bride and groom with grass and grains of rice which are kept in a basket. The high wooden turmeric crusher called akhur (on the right) indicates that tumeric powder is used to soak the wedding dress in turmeric water to clean it and purify it ritually. The clothes of bride and groom are being tied together as a sign of their oneness.

The centre of the courtyard where some of the marriage rituals take place is called Mandwa. There, a branch of the Mahua, the blackberry, the mango or the Sal tree is planted. It is believed that benevolent spirits dwell in these trees. Two earthen pots are placed on either side of the branch. These pots are filled with water and carried along by two unmarried girls of the village. They are meant to remind the bride of her friendship with the village people. A man is playing the marriage drum, behind him is a man with an ordinary drum.

Source: Santals Celebrate the Seasons published by Ashadullapur Gramin Silpa & Sastha Bidhan Kendra and Ghosaldanga Bishnubati Adibasi Trust © 2014

Learn more about this unique project, view the entire series of photographs or download the eBook here: Six Murals by Sanyasi Lohar and his team >

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Santal marriage known as ‘Hor bapla’ in Santali is the most complex social and religious ceremony of the Santals. It begins in the month of Falgun and continues upto Josthi (March to June). Marriage for Santals is not only the communion of two individuals but also the occasion to strengthen the kinship relationship of two families and their villagers. Following are some forms of marriages practiced in Santal parganas, northern part of West Bengal, Assam, Nepal and Bangladesh with little changes according to the practices of the villages. | Learn more >>

Source: “Towa Dare – O my beloved mother II Marriage song”
Date Visited: 25 September 2022

Learn more

Ashadullapur Gramin Silpa & Sastha Bidhan Kendra

Crafts and visual arts | Masks

eBook | Background guide for education

eBook | “Santals Celebrate the Seasons”: Creativity fostered by Ashadullapur Gramin Silpa & Sastha Bidhan Kendra – West Bengal

Ghosaldanga Bishnubati Adibasi Trust

The Santals by Boro Baski

Santal music CD and DVD by Ghosaldanga Bishnubati Adibasi Trust

Santal Parganas

Santali language | eBook | A Santali-English dictionary –

Sanyasi Lohar


Video | Roots and Branches: The Lifeworld of an Enlightened Villager in West Bengal

Video | Santali video album “Ale Ato” (Our Village, Part 1 of 2) – West Bengal

To locate the Museum of Santal Culture in Bishnubati village (near Santiniketan) on the map seen below, open by clicking on the left button:

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