Tuesday, November 25, 2008
THIS WAS INCREDIBLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Indian weddings are full of excitement, energy, cultural and religious traditions, family, and food. Preparing for the wedding was an interesting experience. We had no idea how to put on our Saris, so they neighbor helped us. It was quite a sight. I tripped a ton of times and we were laughing so hard that we couldn't focus on standing still ong enough to get pinned. I guess it is a good thing that everything in India goes by Indian Standard Time, which means....nothing is ever on time. I mean hours late. We were supposed to be picked up at 4p.m. and we weren't picked up until 8p.m., but it was okay because there was no official time for the wedding to start and we were EARLY for the wedding! I am so punctual, so I struggle with this concept of Indian Standard Time. We left at 2a.m. and the wedding wasn't even one sixth of the way completed. Indian weddings go until the wee hours of the morning, such as 6 and 7a.m.
There are over 200 different kinds of Indian weddings. It depends on the religious positions and the geographic location of the families. Some weddings are more traditional and others are not.
This particular wedding was an arranged marriage. Arranged marriages are still popular in India. An arranged marriage is when parents find a suitor for their daughter based on certain criteria (i.e. education, occupation, common interests, genuine family cohesiveness, etc.) and then they begin the process of arranging the. Basically, after a suitor has been decided, the families spend time together asking questions and learning about each others' values. If the families approve, then the possible bride and groom meet a few times and then they get married. The common saying in India is, "We dated after we were married," because usually the bride and groom have only met a few times prior to getting married. This was the situation of this wedding we attended.
TRADITIONS OF INDIAN WEDDINGS ARE VERY INTERESTING. YOU MAY WANT TO RESEARCH A FEW OF THE TRADITIONS AND COMPARE/CONTRAST THESE TRADITIONS WITH THE ONES YOUR FAMILY PRACTICES AND SHARE YOUR FINDINGS IN YOUR NEXT POST.
Here is Miss Reynolds' Notes of Indian Weddings (You can tell we LOVED this experience!!!) Here are some pictures from the first Indian wedding Miss Reynolds attended.
No celebration, world-wide, could compare to a true, Indian wedding. These people go ALL OUT! Indian parents pride themselves on finding a good family and a good match for their children. When the big day comes, they couldn't be happier and they invite everyone, and I mean EVERYONE to share in their happiness. There are so many wedding "functions" prior to the actual event... The groom and his family are spoiled by the bride's family and showered with gifts and sweets. The bride is pampered by all of the women in her family with material, jewels, henna and polish. Everyone is running around like crazy, hopping from party to party, and this is BEFORE the formal wedding dinner, party and ceremony!
Unlike Americans, Indians celebrate with a party first then attend the personal ceremony afterward. So walking in to an Indian wedding means walking into fun, feasts, and dancing. When I visited my first Indian wedding bash, I patiently anticipated the groom's arrival, who (on his own good time) finally showed up a few hours later! There is no official start time or end time when it comes to Indian weddings. The best part was, I couldn't even see him coming because a few hundred people (the groom's guests) were paving the way for him on the dark roads. From a distance I could see the precession slowly making their way, I could hear the live drums ripping through the crowd, and I could feel the floor trembling. As the madness approached, I could faintly make out the silhouette of the groom from the torches which were being carried around him. Caught up in the moment were the singing and dancing party of people in front of the groom- the biggest street party I have ever witnessed! And behind the chaos sat the groom... on horseback! Dressed in all white from head to toe, he rode tall and proud behind his family and friends. He wore a stunning, white headpiece which covered his face, and wouldn't reveal himself until greeted by the bride's family.
After the grand entrance and a million traditions later, the groom (headpiece off) sat on stage waiting for the bride to come down the aisle. And suddenly there she was- looking like an Indian GODDESS! Her suit was covered in every kind of embroidery, design, jewel, gem, rhinestone, pattern you could think up. The jewelry... wow. Intense. Next thing you know her mom shoved me next to her and there I was, walking her down the aisle! I was totally self-conscious thinking, "Okay, I met her this morning, I don't know if this constitutes a friendship worthy of maid-of-honor status," but that was just my western mind rambling. My new-found Indian self realized, "Indians want to share their joy with everyone. These people have accepted me into their family." That last thought truly registered when I woke up the next morning in a bed with five of my new family members. The after-math of a wedding can be brutal- around 30 people sleeping under one roof. Personal space? Not in India!!!
To make a long story short, It was awesome. Check out the pics (even though it doesn't do the real event justice) :)