Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Hindu Wedding

New Year's resolution # 1. Keep up with my much neglected blog.

Since this blog is about both my writing and travels, I'll start today with my pseudo trip to India. Actually a 4 event adventure to our neighbor's daugher's Hindu Wedding. The first event was on a Friday evening. This is were they henna paint the bride's hands, arms, and feet. Female guests also have the opportunity to be painted, but I declined since it lasts for a couple of months.

The first thing we learned: Do not arrive on time. They were still setting up tables when we arrived. The room was calm with the quiet chatter that goes with a large family who haven't seen each other for a long time, some not for years. A family came to join us at our table. This courtesy was extended at each celebration.

When the line for the henna painting was gone, and people seemed to be standing around in idle chatter, we were informed the noise level would go up when the groom's family arrived. That it did.

We were curious about a warm drink they were passing out to the guests. When they came to our table, we asked if it was alcoholic, and he leaned closer in a confidential manner and just above a whisper said, "No, isn't it a shame?" We told him on the conrtary, wouldn't have any if it was. It was a delicious milk and pistachio drink. I wish I could have had seconds.

We were in for another surprise. The food wasn't hot. Only a couple of the dishes at all 4 events had any heat whatsoever. Our host explained the area of India they were from didn't use that much chilli. I wish I could tell you how delicious the food was, or even tell you what we had. It was all scrumptious.

The second event was Saturday morning. It started at 7:30, but we couldn't make it until ten. When we came in, they were in the middle of a ceremony with the bride and her family using smoke from a small fire. The priest was kind enough to explain many of the steps in English. I wonder if that was for our benifit.

At 11:00 women, I'm sure they were relatives of the bride carried large pots on their heads down the length of their driveway. I can only imagine how heavy they were.

Once again we had to wait for lunch (they had served breakfast before we came) until the groom's family arrived. They were performing some other type of ceremony. Once again the food was outstanding, and plentious.

Saturday evening was dancing. We were admonished to join in early, and found out why. They only did 3 dances all evening long--about 45 minutes each. The reason for starting early, was because gradually without really noticing it, the music got faster and faster. We dropped out before it got to the end. In fact most people had, only a couple dozen of the younger set stuck it out for the whole dance.

For dinner, they had 2 catering trucks, one with pizza and pasta, and the other one Indian food. We chose the Indian food.

Sunday evening, for the actual wedding we had learned our lesson well  by that time. We left in order to be fifteen minutes late, but forgot our camera, so we were actualy half an hour late. No problem, right? Um, er, no. Evidently they start this event on time. People were still milling about, though. They pointed to two empty chairs in the middle of the room where we could sit. There was a shawl on one of them. Sigh. We couldn't see much because of the crowd, however people were standing in the aisle taking pictures, so I did that too.

The ceremony still took a long time, but the room started emptying, so I could get some better shots. Dan wanted to go see what was going on in the other room. Nothing but people meandering around chatting. However, even before the ceremony was over, people were being ushered into the dinning room. We followed them, and as usual a family soon came to sit with us. I couldn't resist taking a picture of their son.

All in all it was a once in a lifetime experience. I've only written a tiny bit of what went on, because nobody wants to sit and read a blog for an hour or two. I gained three pounds in three days--right before Thanksgiving, but it was worth every bite. The joy and love I felt can't be explained. It was a wonderous experience, and if you ever get an invitation, go, and go to all of the events if at all possible.

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