Assam’s ‘Tuloni Biya’, where attainment of Womanhood is not a Taboo but a reason to Rejoice!

Assam’s ‘Tuloni Biya’, where attainment of Womanhood is not a Taboo but a reason to Rejoice!

Menstruation is widely considered a taboo topic and open discussions on this subject were hardly made possible. But in today’s day and time, many feminists as well as rights activists are widely talking about it. But things were different back in time where a girl’s attainment of puberty was considered significant not only for her and her family but on general social terms. Some ancient religions and civilizations from Rome to Greece do mention certain rituals which were performed when boys and girls attained puberty or adulthood. Even Hinduism has mentioned a rite of passage for the girls known as “Ritusuddhi” which is neither discussed nor mentioned nowadays. There were social systems to signify this event and the related phase in a girl’s life but it got eradicated from most Indian communities.

biya

But here in Assam, a ritual called “Tuloni Biya” is still performed to commemorate the attainment of womanhood status to a girl.  Tuloni Biya is a ritualistic symbolic wedding that is performed a few days after the girl has her first menstruation. It is a ritual distinct to the Hindu Tai Ahoms and many other Assamese groups who have their own theories about its significance and origins. The mock marriage of one’s daughter to the banana tree signifies the girl attaining adulthood and potential to bear a child. The girl isn’t allowed to eat anything till the 4th day when she is confined to bed in a room. Men will not be allowed in that nearby sight and she isn’t allowed to be even touched by anyone.

Generally, on the 4th day, the girl is bathed with proper wedding rituals, using maah-halodhi (turmeric ). A banana tree is planted at the site where the girl is to be bathed. On the day which the astrologer deems suitable for the “wedding”, a group of women from a different part of the village pretends to be from the supposedly groom’s side and travels to the girl’s house singing Biya Naam (wedding songs) all the way like a real wedding. The bride’s” mother welcomes the group and rituals like an actual wedding then takes place. The wedding is generally celebrated on a large scale with members of community participating in large numbers to bless the girl into a new life!

– TNT News

(Source : fried eye media)

(Image courtesy : Internet sources)