Friday, 21 July 2017

What To Expect In An Indian Wedding? - An Account Based On An Enthralling Experience At An Indian Wedding!

Never go for an Indian wedding expecting the perfect order and arrangement like a western wedding. Be prepared to witness a bit of chaos and commotion! It is not due to the lack of preparation or planning that is the way they approach their weddings. I recently got a wonderful opportunity to attend an Indian wedding in New Haven. A Hindu family from South India who has settled in New Haven invited me. Read on to experience each and every bit of the authentic Indian event!

Expect music- Loads of it actually!

You can hear an Indian wedding even before you reach the venue. Instrumental music involving Nadaswaram and Tavil (Traditional South Indian musical instruments) are inevitable in their weddings. The practices may vary depending on the religion and the states, but I believe that the basic things remain the same. The loud music is audible even at a distance. The pitch and the rhythm of the music reach its maximum during the main ceremony that is when the groom ties the knot around the bride's neck.

Hospitality in all its bounty!

Indians are known for their hospitality. It is reflected in the way they receive and treat their guests. The family welcomes each and every guest with broad smiles. They sprinkle rose water on the guests’ head and give them a paste of sandal and kumkum (A special turmeric powder worn by Indians on foreheads). You would be offered seats and would be treated with love and respect.

Large number of guests

An Indian wedding is not limited to a small bunch of people. A lot of people would be invited to the event. If a family in Kentucky had these many guests, I wonder how large a wedding in India would be! Coming back to what I said in the beginning, the ‘chaos’ part; for Indians, a wedding is not just an affair between the bride and the groom, but between two families. Hence each and every member of the families, irrespective of their ages form part and parcel of the wedding and would be busy with one task or the other! So, now you know the reason behind the commotion. No one in the family sits back thinking someone else would take care of the things. Everyone equally shares the responsibility.

Flowers, flowers and even more flowers!

Indian wedding venue is unfinished without flowers. Garlands and other decorative items made of roses, jasmines and chrysanthemums would be there all around you grabbing your attention. I was surprised to see how the family managed so many Indian flowers to decorate the place. Arena flowers had done the flower delivery for them which I came to know later from the family.

Splendidly appearing bride and groom

Indians wear only traditional costumes during their religious wedding ceremonies. The bride wears a silk saree and the groom a shirt and veshti (It is a lengthy, rectangular piece of cloth worn around the waist). What caught my attention the most was the bride's makeup; it matched perfectly with the traditional attire she wore and did not smudge off or wear out even after sitting a long time in front of the holy fire for the wedding rituals. Unable to hold back my curiosity, I asked one of the family members where they got the makeup done. My doubt was not wrong; they had got it done by wedding makeup artist from Skulpt Chennai, their hometown. So, that was the secret behind the perfectly traditional appearance!

No compromise on religious rituals

Indians may live in any corner of this world, but wherever they are, they would never compromise on their culture especially when it comes to a very important event such as a wedding. Sitting around the holy fire, the bride and the groom sincerely perform all the rituals according to the instructions of a priest. When the time comes for the actual ceremony, a gold pendant which is called as ‘Thali’ is taken to every guest and each one blesses it sincerely. A handful of rice grains would also be given to all guests. The priest chants prayers, the music stops for a moment indicating that it is the time for tying the knot. The groom ties the thali around the bride’s neck. The musicians would play a special tone and rhythm in a high pitch, and the guest would stand up and shower the rice grains on the couple to bless them.

Distinctive and grand food

Indian food is known for the spices they use and the variety they create. Their traditional style is serving food on plantain leaves. I was bewildered a bit in the beginning, but then decided to go ahead and enjoy the delicacies in their own style. A lot of items including rice, curries and vegetables filled the entire leaf. A sweet called ‘payasam’ was so yummy that I had it a lot! The catering was taken care of by Dakshin, a South Indian restaurant.
An Indian wedding is more like a festival; a festival of joy, laughter and love. I am glad that I could be part of such a fabulous event!

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