Toloni Biya Or Tuloni Biya Or Nua-tuloni-biya Or Santi Biya

Assamese peoples marked two marriages of their daughters. The first marriage is known as Toloni Biya or Tuloni Biya or Nua-tuloni-biya or Small Wedding (Biya means Marriage in Assamese), which is celebrated in childhood. When any Assamese girl reaches puberty and starts menstruation this biya is celebrated. This marriage is celebrated with same enthusiasm as like a real wedding.
Tuloni Biya is a ritualistic symbolic wedding that is performed a few days after the girl has her first menstruation and signifies the attainment of womanhood and her coming of age. It is a ritual supposedly typical and unique to the Hindu Tai Ahoms and many other Assamese groups which has various theories about its significance and origins. The main motive of the celebrating this toloni biya to teach the menarche girl about the female sexual and reproductive cycle.

When the young girl first discovers that she has had her first menses she had normally tell one of her friends or her mother. From there, word would spread to close family and provisions would be made to bring her home “under cover” with a sador or veil on her head so no one can see her. Once she is home, a bed is made with hay and covered with a sheet. A diya or earthen lamp is lit on the floor right above where the girl is to put her head, and a bunch of bananas is placed there too. The girl isn’t allowed to eat anything then and is confined to that bed in that room. No men are allowed in that room, and she isn’t supposed to be even touched by anyone. Meanwhile a family member would rush to the nearest astrologer, and ask him to chart her stars to find out how many days of confinement the girl is to go through. It can be as short as four days and as long as twentyone days, depending on the stars.

Parents along with near by peoples pray to the God for giving the girl a healthy sexual and reproductive system. Usually the ritual continues for seven days. During this period the respective girl is kept in seclusion and not allowed to see sun, moon, cows or any man, even her father. In some parts of Asom the girl is allowed to bathe on fourth day and in some parts of  Asom on 7th day.

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