A traditional study of Marriage Practices of Bhil Tribe with reference to Jhalod Taluka in Dahod District


Varun Kumar Damor

Research Scholar, Dahod Gujarat

*Corresponding Author E-mail:   



India is a country with unity in diversity. In India, people follow different religion and have different cultures. Adivasi culture has its own importance in the Dahod and Panchmahal district of Gujarat state. The Adivasi people have different lifestyle living in mountainous regions. Their dressing style, food, musical instruments, weapons are different from other tribal people. This paper presents an overview of the traditional marriage practices of the Adivasi community. The detailed study of each occasion or ceremony offers a clear interpretation of how groom and bride are selected, engaged, various vidh is or ceremonies, different customs, rites and rituals regarding marriage, etc. The different songs sung during each ceremony gives an interesting overview of marriage practices carried out according to the Adivasi (Bhil) tribe. It also includes the practice of dowry system which is a curse for the society. But the marriage practices of the Adivasi tribe has its own importance in the society.


KEYWORDS: Adivasi tribe, tradition, culture, marriage, custom, ceremony, rites and rituals.






Our country, India, is full of diversity, where people follow different religions and belongs to different tribes. Here, each race or tribe have their separate laws as well as rules and ethnicity. This is one of the main features of Indian culture. In India, people chiefly follow Hindu religion in comparison with other religion. There are many sects and castes in Hindu religion, among them are Brahman, Vaniya, Kshatriya, Bariya, Patel, Soni, Luhar, Vankar, Harijan, Chamar, Rathva, Nayak, Machhi, Bharwad, Thakor, Darbaar, Chauhan, etc. All these castes havea unique identity.


When we talk about Gujarat state, particularly Dahod and Panchmahal district, Adivasi (Bhil) community resides here and they have their own rites and rituals different from other tribal community. The tribal people are found mainly in hilly and snowy mountainous regions which make them physically strong. They are helpful in nature. Their rites and rituals, dress code, musical instruments, weapons, food, etc. present an overview of their life. Out of these, it is important to learn and know about the marriage practices of the tribal people in the social context.


Marriage practices play very important role since ancient times. In every religion, marriage has its foremost place. In Hindu religion, marriage is considered to be a ‘meeting of two souls’. Marriage is considered to be a lifelong union of two people in wedlock. To maintain the pedigree lineage, both men and women should build a healthy intimate relationship once or twice to establish their family which they require in during their old age, and sustenance of the bondage or relationship is important in every community. That is what we call it marriage. We find the ancestral hierarchy system even in today’s modern society prevailing from ancient times. Like other community, marriage has a foremost importance in Adivasi culture. In India, the importance of marriage is great and holy because it is the gateway to a new home.


Choice of a bride or groom in Adivasi society:   

In Adivasi society, caste plays an important role in selecting the groom or bride during marriage. However, they cannot marry in any other caste except their own. In that case, it is important to consider their paternal caste as well as maternal caste. For instance, if a boy belongs to Damor caste then he cannot marry a girl of Damor caste. Marriage can be done in any caste expect their paternal and maternal caste.


In Adivasis, the elders take decisions regarding bride or groom. Most of the time, bride or groom are free to take their personal decisions regarding marriage.


In order to choose a bride, the bride’s nature, appearance, habits are observed while to choose a groom, the family of bride-to-be considers thegroom’s house, property, job, appearance, behavior, etc. Since the standards of livelihood have changed, adjustments are made due to financial differences. In the modern era, as a result of increased in the proportion of education, changes have been noticed in Adivasi society. Because of this, the society modifies their choice of decision from time to time. 


When he or she attains a mature age, then the child is considered to be eligible for marriage. Sometimes, due to some conditions concerning household work or agricultural work, the child gets married at an early age considering it to be the child-marriage. With modernization, there is zero proportion of child marriages in the area.


Sagai (Engagement or Ring Ceremony):  

Normally, the family of groom gathers at the bride's house to celebrate engagement ceremony. But sometimes the bride’s family also visits the groom’s house. The bride’s brother-in-law performs some rituals taking diya or lamp, red-coloured kumkum, rice, perfume, incense stick, etc. in a plate and gives dried coconut in bride’s hand. During the engagement ceremony, the girl is gifted with anklet,saree, ring, toe-ring, etc., and the boy is gifted with silver bracelet, ring, and shirt-pant.



“GhiriyoGhiriyoAvo, Avo Mari Vevano”


“Paghadikevilayo re vevannasura (2)

Layavanarito re vevannasura (2)

Vironathikhalta re vevannasura (2)”



Clothes are one of the most important pieces of wedding dresses in Adivasi culture. The relatives of groom-to-be gather and visit the bride-to-be's house. The bride’s family, friends and relatives also gathers. The significance of this ceremony is that the people together decides the amount of dowry given for the bride by the groom. Normally, every village has different dowry amount to be given. But for illiterate bride, the groom is to be determined to give thirty thousand (30,000 /-) to forty thousand (40,000 /-).  In a nutshell, taking into consideration the individual's financial position, the dowry amount is decided accordingly. It is quite shameful that for a bride who is educated and does a job, the dowry amount decided is up to one lakhs               (1,00,000 /-) to two lakhs (2,00,000 /-). The practice of dowry system is must be ended and if not may be blurred form later in the society.



“Aa kapadiyahokatediya nana bhaya…

Kapadiya ma apadi ben vechayjhebapa…

Kapadiyahokatediya kaka…

Kapadiya ma apadichorivechayjhebhaya…”


Tel Chadhavvu (Ganesh Stapana):

The first occasion of a marriage is to apply oil or it can be called Ganesh Stapana. On this occasion, the eldest people of the village, and the family come together and visit the nearby village. The bride is made to wear jewelry that has been selected for her from the jewelry shop. Later, a turmeric pot or an oil pot pitcher is brought from the market. A perfume bottle, turmeric, mirror, talcum powder, comb, nail polish, etc. are kept in the pot. The girls take all these and come home singing. The water is coated with turmeric powder. In the evening, the turmeric is crushed to make turmeric paste. The villagers are invited for the Haldi ceremony. This ceremony is most often done by elders other than the bride or groom caste. For instance, if the groom or bride the belongs to the Damor tribe, then the tribe other than Damor like Pargi, Bhabhor, Ravat, Sangada, etc. can apply oil or haldi.


Figure 1 : Tel Chadhavvu


Vidhi (Ceremony):

In the evening, the bride is brought and made to sit in a room of the groom’s house. Then, Patel and elders of other castes begin to ceremony. The girls in the family stand in circle around the bride. The bride's head is covered a white cloth by the girls of the family. The girls standing in a circle hold the cloth. An arrow is hold over the cloth which is placed over the bride's head. Then, oil is slowly being poured over the arrow. The girls go around and sing songs.


“Phunduphundanimarigyuphundurame same re…

Phundulavuchekethagavurame same re…

Phundupaserupiyamul re phundurame same re…

Phunduvanilane hate phundurame same re…”


On the day of Ganesh Stapana, an arrow or sword is given to the bride. A colourful ribbon or phundu is tied on top of it. While buying and selling it, this song is sung.



“Patalenahibehonani ben a…

Patalophasavimarhenani ben…

Ben ne tele chadhere ben malake re…

Ben tepatalo j maangahe re bhaya…”


While applying oil to the bride-to-be and groom-to-be, they are made to sit on a wooden chowki to perform rituals. At that time, this song is sung.



“Haldi le re ladlihaldikeviklageche…

Haldi de re ladlipilinepanjaridekhayache…

Kavad de re gasegdokhu ne dokhudekhayache…”


Here, ‘panjari’ means the whites, ‘kavad’ means the mud, ‘dokhu’ refers to the buffalo. This song is sung when the haldi paste is applied to both the bride-to-be and the groom-to-be.


Pagadhi (Turban):

The bridal party goes to groom’s house to keep the chandla or the money and are made to wear a turban. This occasion is known as ‘Pagadhi’. All people, men, women, kids together get involved and enjoys.



“Khailevevanakhai le majanamalyasuka

Mara vinanakhandavelamajanamalyasuka

Puiharibajdimajame he kevevana



This song is often sung to greet guests who comes to attend the Pagadhi occasion while they are having meal. ‘Suka’ means rice, ‘pui’ means the land and ‘nahati’ means to run away.


Chandla Vidhi:

In Adivasi culture, ‘Chandla Vidhi’ is one of the important ceremony during marriage. The bridegroom's brother brings water in a kalash or a copper pot which is placed in the plate. Then, the relatives and villagers keeps the chandla or the money in an envelope into the plate.



“Thali maandimokali re haka jinanaavalama…

Kutambava he hamaru re haka jinanaavalama…

Mahvorovomokalo re haka jinanaavalama…

Phojiavahe hamate re haka jinanaavalama.”


Figure 2 : Chandla Vidhi



The night before the marriage procession has been scheduled, the applied oilor haldiis then removed. The Patel of the village offers to remove the applied oil or haldi. The yogurt is poured onto the heads of the groom. Then, the groom’s brother-in-law paints ‘Bhradi’ (Ganesh) on the wall with the help of turmeric and rice flour.


In the morning, after the groom is bathed and dressed, he is made to wear ‘mughat’ or crown. The groom is appreciated, carried and brought out. The groom party, including families and relatives, depart to the ceremony site singing the following song.



“Kapadaperinekahabayajyare ne bhaya…

Kapadaperinesasarehabayajyare ne bhaya…

Bhorilaperinekahabayajyare ne bhaya…

Bhorilaperinesasarehabayajyare ne bhaya…

Paghadibaandhinekahabayajyare ne bhaya…

Paghadibaandhinesasarehabayajyare ne bhaya…”

This song is sung when marriage procession is going to the bride’s village. ‘Peri’ means wearing it, ‘habaya’ refers to being prepared for the pleasure of marriage.


Figure 3 : Jaan


Mangal Phera:

When the groom’s party reaches the bride's house, they are received with hospitality and are provided with water and alcohol. Some girls from the bridal party take a clay pot filled with water and a copper cot is placed over it for the groom and welcome him. While returning, they sing the songs. The groom’s party send a suitcase for the bride. The suitcase contains the bride's clothes, slippers, makeup kits, jewelry, etc. Later, the groom party arrives at the Mandap. The groom is welcomed to the mandap using many things like ‘raveya’ (wooden churner), joharu (yoke), sambhelu (wooden crusher), etc. which are passed on over the groom’s head. The belief behind this is that he has a permanent relation with this world. In the the center of the mandap, a fire is kindled using mango tree woods. The mango leaves are kept in akalash or copper pot, filled with water and coconut is kept over it. With God as a witness, there begins the ‘mangal phera’ or the circles around the ceremonial fire. Normally, the rituals of ‘mangal phera’ are done by the bride’s brother-in-law. But as time and the economic condition of the people changes, now the rituals of ‘mangal phera’ are carried out by a Brahmin.



“Mama bhale he ne mamiobhale re…

Ben tamarajodiyekonabethu re…

Jhalodnadholibetho re…”


Figure 4 : Mangal Phera



After the wedding rituals, next comes Kanyadaan. In this ceremony, the parents of the bride sit with the bride and the groom to give the tamba bedhu or the copper pot to the bride as token of their love. Then, the bride's sister, brother, sister-in-law gives household items to the bride as gifts. After that bride’s relatives give gifts according to their financial condition.



“Hari daynudalyunathijamaidalavenathi



This song is sung after Kanyadaan during Vidai of a bride. Here, ‘hari’ refers to five hundred villages.



1.        Adiloka Adivasi Ashmita Akhanditane Adhikarane Samarpit Samayik, (January - February) 2014, Year-6 Issue – 1Pages 30-33.

2.        Information and images obtained through a local wedding invitee in a village.

3.        Publication of an article reported in the current newspaper Sandesh.



Received on 20.02.2020          Modified on 19.03.2020

Accepted on 25.03.2020         © A&V Publication all right reserved

Int. J. Ad. Social Sciences. 2020; 8(1): 18-22.

DOI: 10.5958/2454-2679.2020.00003.1