Gaye Holud – Pre-Wedding Celebration (Bengali Culture)

In traditional Bangladesh, holud which translates to turmeric, was specifically used on brides-to-be before their wedding day. It was commonly believed that turmeric offers several benefits when applied on the skin, including reduction in stains and pigmentation, as well as body hair growth. It was also believed that it leaves the skin with a glow, while giving it a soft and fair appearance. Thus, to make the bride prettier before her big day, specially prepared turmeric (not the one used for cooking) was applied on her face, as well as the rest of her body which will be exposed upon wearing a saree. Thus, the term 'Gaye Holud' which literally translates to 'Body Turmeric', refers to the application of turmeric on the body before the wedding.

This tradition was originally followed by the bride's close family, who would each take a turn in applying the paste on her, and then offer / feed her some traditional sweets to help start her new life with a sweet taste. Over the years, the tradition transformed into a formal event, and the groom's family also got invited to join in the ceremony. The groom however, was strictly not allowed to join as he could only see his new bride at the most beautiful state, which is on the wedding day.

After a while, the same traditions were also followed for the groom, wherey everyone except the bride were invited to follow the rituals. In recent times, this traditional has seen a further transformation, where bride and groom both sit together, and guests from both sides follow the rituals of turmeric paste and traditional sweets.