Bohag without ‘Biya’: COVID-19 lockdown puts wedding plans on back-burner in Assam


Guwahati:  Marked with soberness, Assamese weddings are attractive and beautiful in their own subtle manner. The month of Bohag considered as the best time for marriages in Assam. For most of the Assamese people, Bohag is synonymous to Bihu and Biya (marriage). With the arrival of spring, many Assamese bachelors plan to get blessings from the cupid. Every Assamese household gets numerous wedding cards at the onset of the Assamese New Year.

But Coronavirus scare and nationwide lockdown have overshadowed dreams of many would be brides and grooms. The COVID-19 and lockdown made them postpone their weddings which were scheduled to be held in the month of Bohag (April-May).

The wedding of 26 year old Guwahati girl Priyanka was scheduled on April 17. The venue was fixed, cards were distributed, theme was decided and her wedding attire (Mekhla Chador) also became ready. But the lockdown posed uncertainty to her wedding plans and postponed for indefinite.

The threat of COVID-19 started as a little blip before blowing up into a huge cloud of dread and a nationwide lockdown from March 24, ending her hopes for a grand once-in-a-lifetime celebration.

 “We had already done the marketing and invited a lot of people for the marriage ceremony but due to the lockdown we have cancelled the wedding and have no idea when we can again plan for my daughter’s wedding”, said Priyanka’s mother.

Priyanka’s mother also added, “We had booked the venue in Christain Basti and already paid an advance of 20 thousand rupees. With the cancellation of the marriage we are at great fix now. We called everyone and informed that the marriage is cancelled. The entire D-Day drill – with months spent on zeroing-in on the menu, haggling over the price of the venue, preparing guest lists, whitewashing the whole house, picking the right jewellery and clothes has come to naught”.

Priyanka is not alone in the list.

Kunal Saikia, 38, was set to get married on April 22. The compulsion of a limited gathering and that too without his brother who can’t leave Germany due to travel restrictions has led to Saikia cancelling his wedding – at least for now.

Particular about ‘auspicious dates’, Neha Baruah has eventually accepted the inevitable and pushed her wedding from April to November-December.

“All of us felt it’s better to be safe than sorry, and so decided to postpone the wedding date. We have to call up all our guests and inform them about the postponement date, which is both embarrassing and exhaustive”.

“We have made advance payments to so many pre-wedding planners and are not sure if the money will get refunded,” said the 26-year-old IT professional”.

COVID-19 alarm bells have drowned out the sound of wedding bells and also the clink of the cash registers for businesses dependent on the wedding industry — wedding planners, banquet owners, bands, florists, photographers, makeup artists, caterers etc.