Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Neal and Weddings

Hi!
Are you as excited as I am? Probably no..but I am because this is my first post according to the schedule I said I'll follow.I said on some Wednesdays I'll most probably post something Indian i.e. all the Indian experiences I've had.So here I'll tell you about the last marriage I attended of my cousin which was like six months ago.
Paranoid Puppet gave me a brilliant idea of making a comic about it but I couldn't find the time.Sorry about that :)

So Indian marriages aren't your typical one day marriage.They are grand and usually stretch over days.Everyday there are new rituals and both bride and groom go through all that to spend there life together.
The tradition of arranged marriages is still at large in India and that is how my cousin found his better half.Their families were introduced by a Guru and soon they agreed to tying the knot.I personally am not a big fan of arranged marriages you are married to someone you don't even know.
It was December 2013 when I had just come back to home when my mother rushed into my room and told me to get dress.She said,"Get ready H Bhai (Let his name be H, Bhai is hindi for brother) is getting engaged" and I was shocked because I wasn't expecting any of it, anyhow I got dressed and went to a hotel where there was a small gathering of people of close relatives.My mother is sister of H's mother, they have three more sisters.In my language we call mothers sister "Masi".So all my "Masi's" were there with all my cousins and my mother's brothers (We call them "Mama") were there.Then we had lunch before they actually got engaged.The pair exchanged rings and both families gave gifts to each other.
My sister at the engagement party.
The date of marriage is then fixed by the priest on the bases of stars and whatnot.In this case they were to be married in June end.So right from December to June everyone close to the cousin was excited.Me and sister see him like couple times each year so we don't really know him but our mother was excited for her sister.Everybody did a lot of shopping.
By the time June arrived there was a lot of buzz and excitement and one day my sister came into my room and announced that I'm going to do a dance performance with her and two other cousins.Now you should know that I have serious stage issues.I dread being singled out in a crowd and being on the stage dancing not only singles me out but also shine a huge bright spotlight. I refused at first but somehow agreed to do it.So we had to practice a couple of times with the other two cousins it was fun though.
We are Hindu,Just like Muslims and Sikhs our marriages start days before the actual marriage.Different castes in Hindu culture have different tradition so ours might be a bit different than others.
My Masi who's son was getting married stay's in Mumbai but the bride's family belonged to another state and there were relatives coming from some other parts of India so a neutral venue was decided for marriage (Delhi) which was most suitable for everyone as majority of relatives resides in Delhi.Few weeks before marriage she came to Delhi for preparations.Hotels were booked functions were organised and everything was ready for that last week of marriage.
Finally all the relatives arrived and suddenly the buzz and excitement turned into a big celebration.In that last week there were functions were ladies sang and danced to the tune of the 'Dholak' while the men do their stuff,they gossip if not doing any work.There is one day where every girl/women apply Heena (Mehndi) on there hands.It is supposed to be a good luck thing.Usually men don't apply it but the groom does for his wedding day.The only time a men applies it on his hand.
Sister with mehndi
So it was like this for a couple of days.My mom would go to the Hotel (It was at 5 min walking distance from our house :P) while we would go at evenings.We were bored to be frank because there was literally nothing to do but sit.That kind of changed when some of the relative arrived from Mumbai just two days before the marriage.This party of relatives included cousin of my mother and his wife,the thing is he isn't very old like my other relative and therefore he is fun to hangout with.We spent the next few days laughing and having fun.
The day before the marriage there was this ritual in which groom sits in middle of a group of people while his relatives (mainly ladies) apply a Turmeric paste on his face and hands etc.It is supposed to make the groom fair among some religious believes which I don't know.This ritual is called "Haldi ceremony".Bride's family must've done the same but I'm not sure never attended any wedding in which I was in the bride's family.
That same night we had a huge party in which both the families met with all their relatives..all looking sharp...girls looking beautiful while the party hall was decorated with flowers and lights.This was the night when we were supposed to perform.Every close relative was doing a dance performance old or young.A host was keeping the crowd of relatives under control calling up the next performers.Me and my cousins were standing right next to the stage hooting and whistling at top of our voice until we were called up to the stage suddenly I found the voice in my throat gone it had been replaced by a knot in my stomach and as I walked up to the stage with my cousins and sister I realized everyone was looking at us.I wanted to run away screaming but thankfully I didn't I looked at my sister and just did what I was supposed to on the stage and it all went alright we were to darn awesome.My sister forget a step in between which made me want to laugh but still it was real nice.After all the dances and gift exchange rituals were done it was dinner time.There was a buffet of different cuisines Chinese,Italian,Indian,American and a lot of desserts,salads etc we all ate until we couldn't even eat a single bite.We were busy dancing to the dj so we were the last one left who hadn't had dinner.

sis and mom
Neal and Sis
Cousins
The next morning was the busiest morning.It was the morning of marriage everyone was busy with preparations.The groom was busy with some morning rituals of marriage and so were others.There is this ritual in which the grooms mother welcomes everyone of her brother and sister one by one into her house for marriage and they all bring gifts and stuff.So we were all hauled outside and then welcomed back inide one by one.After all this was done everyone went back to their home to get ready.The women went to beauty saloons to get ready,makeup and hair stuff (you know how it is)...While I slept for the remainder of the afternoon.After waking up we all got ready for the main event,yes it was finally happening after all this.
We dressed up as sharply as we could all wanting to look better than the other and left for the hotel.Now in Hindu marriages the groom arrives at the venue of marriage on horse back (Yes you read that right).So at the hotel there was another little ceremony called "Ghud Chadi" in which the groom get up on the horse..there was a carriage behind the horse in which my cousin hoped in with a little kid.There was a band playing while we were all dancing.Dancing is a very important part of this thing.It is called as "baraat".It is the family of groom.The groom rides on the horse while the "Barat" walks either behind it and some while dancing in front of it with band.We don't go like this all the wa y but rather to any nearby temple where the groom takes blessing from the god and everyone sits in the car to reach the venue.There is a small get together nearby the marriage venue where the grooms entire family regroups.The groom again hops on the horse here and "Baraat" continues how it started.With all the dancing and stuff it usually takes hours for a Baraat to walk a distance which generally should take like 5-10 minutes.We danced like crazy (Yes  I did too because it was fun and had no spotlight).Everyone danced until they couldn't anymore at the gate of the venue while the bride's family waited at the other side of the gate.At the gate there is yet again another ceremony the groom has to give money to the sisters of the bride in order to pass the gate and get married there is a lot of negotiations done here (Fun kind of).Then bride's family greets everyone from the groom's family.The marriage is the occasion where every single far of relative is also present even my father's sister was there.Inside the hall there were several tables and some real comfortable sofa's and couch.We met my father's sister inside and then went in the outer garden where there were more tables and snack/appetizer buffet.The entire area was decorated with lights and flowers.

Top + down left - cousin   right- my sister
Cousins at the venue (I'm the one in red 3rd from left)
The thing about Indian marriage is it goes all night long so after all the Baraat arrives the the venue it takes a little time for everyone to settle down.After that the bride makes a spectacular entrance surrounded by her friends,sisters,brothers,anyone.Sometimes they hoist her up or bring her in a carriage held by people.She is dressed up in a very heavy dress wearing all kind of jewelry and looking absolutely stunning.Then the bride and groom exchange flower garlands to begin the ceremony.There is alot of foul play going on in this sometimes friends hoist the groom/bride up just when the other person is trying to put the garland around his/her neck so that they can't just for fun.After this is done everyone goes up on the stage for a photograph with both bride and groom.They just sit there on big king like chairs while relatives line up for the photographs.Usually most of far away relatives have dinner and leave by this time and by midnight only close relative are left behind.There is a lot of sitting around then usually everyone have dinner.Since none of the close relative eats anything being involved in the wedding a huge table is set and everyone sits on it while steward are putting food on the table and everyone have dinner.Then they wait some more.
There is a custom in which the bride's sisters and friends hide grooms shoes when he is sitting in to get married and demands money in return for the shoes.The groom gives his shoes to his brother/friends to protect so we were all sitting there in a circle with the shoes in the middle daring the bride's sister to come get them.There is also a lot of teasing going on between bride's sisters/friends and groom's brothers/friends so that was going on as well.The actual marriage started at 2 or 3 am by that who cares what time it is.The bride and groom sit in a tent which has fire in the middle while all the relatives sit around it.The priest starts the ritual and does his thing.Parents of bride ties a knot between grooms shawl kind of thing and bride's dress giving them their blessing and give their daughter to the groom.The bride and groom then walk around the fire 7 times each time taking vow.Groom takes 3 vows while bride takes 4 and then take priest's blessing and of gods.After the ritual there is parting ceremony which involves a lot of crying around.It is both happy/sad occasion.Once the groom gets his shoes back both bride and groom sits in a car and goes away for their home where more ceremonies/rituals are waiting for them.
My brother with his bride being escorted to their car
These rituals are fairly light they involve playing different games I know one of them : A ring is taken and drop in colored water so it is not visible then both bride and groom put their hands in the water to find the ring.It is said that whoever finds it will be the dominating of the two throughout the marriage.More singing of traditional songs and stuff.Then I think the two rest for a while because in the morning ( I mean my kind of morning around 10-11 am because it is like 6-7 by when all the games is over) they again have to go to the temple where another game is played in which a lot people participate not only bride and groom.In this there are two sticks and a couple is send to tag each other with it whoever tags the other wins.
No wait celebrations aren't over yet,That night there is another huge party and in this one even more people are present anyone who wasn't invited to wedding is invited to this party "Reception".Reception is just like any other party where Groom introduces his bride to world. That night grooms room is decorated with flowers and candles and stuff where Bride and Groom begin heir married life.
The End.
Dude that was long..pheww..
Hope you enjoyed reading it..
See you on Friday :D
Thanks.

22 comments:

  1. Oh. My. Neal, this was such a beautiful wedding! If I do get married, I want my marriage to be a shudh desi wedding-- with all that 'tam jam!' The mendhi is beautiful, by the way.

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    1. "Tam jam" bwhahaha XD XD
      Yeah it was fun :D

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  2. I love the Mendhi designs - looks like an amazing wedding.

    Lizzie Dripping

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  3. I already knew Indian wedding traditions are so different from Catholics but it's truly mesmerizing! Those designs looks super cool, I didn't know they were called Mendhi so good for me because I know now hehehe and also the clothes. I just love the clothes, so beautiful!

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    1. I'm not sure I was ever this excited about all this XD
      It's nice to tell about and know about different cultures..I love to hear about others just like others do mine :D
      Thanks :D

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  4. This is such an interesting post! I love learning about different cultures. The henna looks beautiful, we have something similar in the Malay culture called the Innai. Before this post, the only thing I had a little idea about Indian weddings is the dowry. But now I've learnt so much. The wedding looks really vibrant with the colourful saris and outfits. :)

    PS This is totally unrelated but Agent Carter airs tonight on Fox HD in Singapore! Can't wait to watch it.

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    1. I googled Innai and yeah it does look same.I love knowing about different cultures as well.It's so interesting sometimes that people have do similar things in different cultures just have different names for it (Like Henna/Mehandi and Innai).I hate the dowry tradition simply hate it some people still practice it but some people don't.I hope soon everyone would stop it.
      Yes I know I just got home back from college and I'm downloading it.I hope it's better than Agent's of SHIELD.I liked Peggy Carter in Captain America : First Avenger.Halley Atwell looks so awesome in that role.I'm excited about it :)

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  5. wow is so beautiful the whole tradition and the clothes are so gorgeous *-*

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  6. This is a really interesting post. I learnt a lot. There are a lot of rituals to follow at the weddings here in Sri Lanka too.
    Your new blog design is awesome, by the way :)

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    1. Thanks..I think it's true for most of the religions,going through too many rituals and ceremonies :D

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  7. Nice! In Pakistan, we have a Nikkah first (which is an engagement thing where I think you sign the papers {not sure though} and the guys family gifts the girls family lots of stuff and stuff) and then about six months later (or whenever people decide on the date, this time is also used for the girl and guy to get to know each other) they have the Rukhsati (which is like, the wedding and I think you go over the documents again or something. Or maybe you sign it then. Idk never been there or done that sooo) where the bride is wearing the traditional red (also, she doesn't get the throne thingy! I really liked that part of indian weddings xD) and then the guy takes the girl home and the girls family comes over at that time and in the morning with breakfast. oh and then the valima is usually on the next day too. And the girl's family steals the guy's shoes when they come visit the girl's family for the first time and they have the whole haggling business xD
    Good post, had fun reading it.

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    1. Actually I knew a lot of stuff from all you've said happens (TV/Movies :P)..still Muslims weddings seems really interesting :D
      I don't think I have ever been to one..my family have though.Red in ours as well..I forgot to add that...I had fun reading your comment.

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  8. This is awesome! you went into so much detail and it nice reading about a culture so different from my own. where I come from they also have big party-like weddings! I love the mehndi aswell !
    http://whenshewrites-theblog.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. Really?Cool :D
      Yes it is nice to read about other cultures :D
      I'm not a fan of mehndi though :P (It smells funny I think :P)

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  9. What an interesting post! It was so refreshing from the usual stuff that I read:) I knew that Indian weddings were complicated, but I had NO IDEA how complicated.

    Thanks for writing it!

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    1. Haha..thanks :D
      Glad you like..makes all the effort worth it :D
      Yeah they're really complicated :P

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  10. Arranged marriage? That still exists? It's the 21st Century!
    Woah, cultures are so different. A wedding sounds absolutely exhausting in India. But also really fun. It's so colourful! And full of life. The only thing I can link it to is my friend. But she's from Pakistan so probably not that close. It also reminds me of a film called "the exotic marigold hotel".
    The dress clothes are so beautiful and so strange to me. It fascinates me. ^_^

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    1. I know weird right putting two random people together XD
      Yes it can be really exhausting I slept for 3 days straight only waking for meals after it all was over :P
      I haven't seen that movie yet but I want to D:
      Hahaha..:D

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  11. Wow... your new blog design.. amazing! :D
    I've been to an Indian wedding once, and I just love the vibe! It's amazing how everything is still kept so traditional!:)
    June

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    1. Woah..I did not see that coming :D
      You've been to one?Tell me more about it :D

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