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    Why Fish Is a Must In Bengali Wedding Rituals?

    From annaprashan to weddings and even funerals (matsamukhi), fish plays a significant role in Bengali rituals. Take a look at the different stories and meaning behind fish being one of the most important and significant aspects of a wedding.
    Updated at - 2023-02-09,18:33 IST
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    We all know that food, especially fish, is something that is stereotypically synonymous with Bengalis. So much so that whether it be Durga puja, weddings, or even funerals, fish  is an integral part of our rituals, customs, and daily life. Hailing from Bengal, I have grown up attending several Bengali weddings and witnessing several rituals – some of which are a part of Hindu customs while some exclusive to the Bengali culture.

    From annaprashan, the first rice-eating ceremony conducted when a baby is merely six months old, to weddings and even funerals (that has the matsamukhi or fish-eating ceremony on the 13th day of mourning), fish plays a significant role in Bengali rituals. Hence, one of the most unique rituals that make a Bengali wedding stand out from all other Hindu weddings is fish. 


    How Is Fish Used In Bengali Wedding Rituals?

    Beginning with the ritual of aiburobhaat, the ceremony where one eats their last rice meal as a bachelor, fish is a must in this rich culinary affair for both groom and the bride. This ritual takes place a day before the wedding day. 

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    Fish In Tatta In Bengali Wedding

    Following this, on the morning of the wedding day, as the gaye holud or haldi ceremony is performed, the groom’s family sends a tatta (array of gifts exchanged between families) along with the haldi or turmeric that is used by the groom. The tatta consists of several gifts along with  a rohu fish that is decked up just like a bride, draped in saree, along with red churni, nath, jewellery, and sindoor. During the wedding ceremony, the tatta exchanged between both families also comprises sweets and sarees that are folded in the shape of a fish.

    Over the years, I have heard different stories and meanings for fish being one of the most significant aspects of a wedding.

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    Significance of Fish In Bengali Wedding Rituals

    I have always heard my mother and grandmothers say that Bengalis consider fish to be very auspicious and they insist on  feeding me fish every morning before a journey or an important day. They say that since the wedding is a very important and auspicious day and starts off one of the important journeys of our life, fish is sent in a tatta as a sign of good luck, well wishes and happiness.

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    Some say fish resembles prosperity and the inflow of wealth and materials. Others say that the fish is decked up as a bride to resemble the bride, her married life, and also symbolises fertility.


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