Gaye Holud

Gaye holud is a ceremony observed mostly in the region of Bengal (comprising Bangladesh and Indian West Bengal). It is part of an elaborate series of celebrations constituting the Bengali wedding. The gaye holud takes place one or two days prior to the religious and legal wedding ceremonies.
For the bride's gaye holud, the groom's family - minus the groom himself - go in procession to the bride's home. They carry with them the bride's wedding outfit, wedding decorations including the turmeric paste (Bengali: হলুদ holud) and henna (Bengali: মেহেদি or মেন্দি mehedi/mendi), sweets and gifts.
They also often bring fresh fish dressed as a wedding couple, or desserts molded to resemble fish. The procession traditionally centers on the bride's (younger) female relatives and friends, who traditionally dress in matching clothes.

The bride is seated on a dais, and the henna is used to decorate the her hands and feet with elaborate abstract designs. The turmeric paste is applied by the guests to her face and body. This is said to soften the skin, but also colours her skin with the distinctive yellow hue that gives its name to this ceremony. The sweets are then fed to the bride by all involved, piece by piece. There is, of course, a feast for the guests.

The groom's gaye holud comes next, and has the same form as the bridal ceremony. In this program the bride does not participate. The groom is accompanied by his younger male relatives and friends, and as with the bride's ceremony, the guests traditionally wear red, yellow, green, or orange. The bride's family brings the gifts for the groom (usually the wedding outfit and some cosmetics) to his house. The guests exchange sweets with and apply turmeric paste to the groom, and a feast is arranged for the guests from the bride's family.

Now a days, sometimes this event is observed to be held with both the bride & groom same time at the same venue, where both the bride & groom may sit side by side and the guests of both parties apply turmeric on both. Sometimes these ceremony is arranged with cultural shows. Most of the cases, the performers are relatives or friends of bride/groom, but recently it has been observed that professional and semi-professional participants are hired to enhance the joys of celebration of this ceremony.

Although similar ceremonies exist in other parts of the Indian subcontinent, the gaye holud is a custom particular to the Bengali people. It is not considered a religious function, as it is celebrated by both Muslims and Hindus in both Bangladesh and Indian West Bengal.

Although it is considered a part of the Bengali wedding tradition, the couple is not considered married at the end of the gaye holud. There is no legal marriage performed during this ceremony. The theme of this ceremony is celebrating the new life of the bride & groom with colors.