Heijingpot is the most talked about and fun part of every Meitei weddings. It is on this day that we ladies get to have a little fun with the bride! Be it the food, the fun of teasing or the all important life lessons from the married ladies. In all, it’s the ladies’ day! But this fun is slated only after the groom’s family and relatives leave.
On the morning of the heijingpot, the grooms family visit the bride’s house with gifts, sweetmeats and other important items of the wedding. The groom’s family will also bring a special item call the “heijing kharai”.
The heijing-kharai includes seven different types of fruit, puffed rice and other important elements depending on the clan and the family. This heijing-kharai is placed inside the phiruk and brought to the house of the bride.
The heijing-kharai is then laid out in the courtyard and purified by the presiding priest.
Offerings are made to the local deities or according to the beliefs of the families and clan involved. From there, the bridegroom’s side will present the heijing-kharai to the bride’s parents. Once this is over, the arangpham will distribute the food items to the guest present at the ceremony.
According to tradition, the groom’s family is suppose to bear all the expenses of the wedding which is inclusive of the bridal wear and accessories. Thus during the heijingpot, the groom’s mother and senior members of the family present the Kujaba to the bride.
Traditionally, the Kujaba brought by the groom’s family will include basic necessities for the forthcoming ceremonies. It includes two-three sets of clothes, one special one for the Mangani Chakouba (the grand wedding feast) and two other sets for formal occasions and a pair of Marei necklace.
They may also include the khoi-mahum ring or any other item of jewelry.
Other important items included are clothing items she would be using during the different ceremonies, jewelry, makeup kit, skincare products, accessories and anything she would need in the coming days. In the meeting with the bride, the groom’s family will inquire if the bride has any special request. Then after the exchange of pleasantries, the visiting parties will head to the mantap for the kuthi-lannaba.
Now, before the kuthi-lannaba is the kwa-lannaba. The kwa-lannaba is a symbolic exchange of pleasantries among the Meiteis. It is a common aspect in all wedding rituals. In the Kwa-lannaba, the leading ladies of the families will exchange pleasantries by exchanging pan which is nicely plated on banana leaves.
After the kwa-lannaba, the bride’s mother will handover the kuthi or the birthchart to the groom’s mother. This is symbolic of the mother giving away her daughter and seeking prosperity for her.
The kuthi lannaba is the last ritual of the ceremony.
Traditionally in the evening of the heijingpot day, the friends of the bride visit her for a tea and help her. They bring her gifts and help her in packing and arranging things for her new home. But of late, the trends have changed. In the evening of the heijingpot, the bride’s friends, close relatives and other invitees are invited for a cake-cutting and a small party. These parties range from simple ring ceremonies to gift exchange or cocktail nights.
These days we have “fancied” the heijingpot a notch higher! From cocktail parties to ring ceremonies and themed showers. You name it, you will get it. We will be getting there soon. Keep watching this space.