The traditional Santhal wedding nowadays includes Mandap (Mandwa), Haldi (Sunum Saasaang), Daa Bapla, Sindradhaan and Gidi chimawda.
The first day of the wedding ceremonies start with the mandwa in which a marquee like structure is built in the courtyard. The pillars are made of bamboo and the roof is decorated with leaves. At the centre of the mandwa, a branch of sal tree is placed which is a holy tree for the Santhals. The centre pillar of the mandwa is usually longer than the rest of the pillars and extends above the height of the house to place a puppet which symbolizes that a wedding is taking place in the house. A frill made of mango leaves is placed at the entrance of the village and in front of the house where the wedding is taking place so as to signify that a wedding is taking place in the village.
The same day during the night time the ceremony of sunum saasaang starts. In this ceremony, freshly ground turmeric paste and mustard oil is put on the bride or the bridegroom along with their lumti or lumta respectively. The lumti and lumta are basically the bridesmaid and the best man. They are usually the cousins of the bride and the bridegroom. During this ceremony, the paste is also put on the parents of the to-be-the newly weds and their married uncle and aunts.
The Daa Bapla takes place the next day. In this ceremony, the presence of the people from Dom community is necessary. They are the ones who play “dhol” and “tamak” through most the rituals. This ceremony starts with the worshipping of the “dhol” and “tamak” under the mandwa and the traditional “denga panchi” is offered. Then, a ritual is to be taken place usually in the village’s pond. While going to the location, the women dance on the beats of the dhol and tamak played by the people from the Dom community.
The Sindradhaan takes place at the bride’s house. This is the actual wedding day when the bridegroom takes a wedding procession (baarat) to the bride’s house. During this day several specific rituals takes place and finally the bride and the bridegroom are married.
The ceremony of “Gidi Chimawda” is the day when the bride and the bridegroom are bestowed upon several gifts so as to start their journey as a married couple. On this day, the guests are also given a feast.
There are several rituals that take place during these ceremonies and are followed accordingly by both of the sides.