Monthly Archives: December 2008

Hen Party – Asian style

Mehndi platesOk, so I still have a headache and my legs are aching from the night of dancing but can I tell you it was fun. Going to the girls side for the mehndi was fab! It took us a two and a half hours to drive up to the venue with the car laden with gift baskets full of flower garlands, mehndi (henna), oil, mehndi plates, fruit, mati (Asian sweets) and clothes.

Now the Mehndi was to start at 6pm, but we were told to come for 6.30pm so the girl’s side could set up. Now Asian time never means on time (we are always late, no matter what time we set off!!!) So I did do well I dropped my dad of at their house at 6pm and then went to the airport to pick up my sister-in-law who came from the exotic location of…London LOL and arrived at the venue at 6.45pm when the heavens opened and it started to pour, not rain but pour!! So we are sat in the car waiting to go in, but the girls side are not ready and we are eager to get inside and get everything ready (henna and candles in the mehndi plates) and everyone can take in their assigned baskets (mine was the flower garlands as I am the older sis).

Ok, so we get the go ahead and they have lit candles inMendhi Plates beautiful green mirrored candle holders outside the door (in the rain) and we go in carrying our baskets with the young girls holding the mehndi plates with tea lights infront. Now we are welcomed with rose petals and flower bracelets and we go in. Then we wait for the bride to be, she comes in dressed in a traditional yellow salwar kameez with green flowering, but has no jewellery or make-up on ( she has to wait till the wedding day).

Now this is where I come in with my basket and myself, sister and sister-in-law take the tray and place the garlands on her. We gave her a flower garland necklace, earrings and bracelets…she looked beautiful (by the way the garlands were yellow chrysanthemums with a single red rose which has a diamond on the middle (my sister and I spent the night before making them!).

I will put pictures up ASAP.

Then there is the RASOM – tradition in which each guest place a little oil on the bride to be’s head, henna in her palm (she was holding a fresh green leaf to receive the henna as it colours a deep orange if place on skin) feed her fruit or mati and then give some money, which will be given to charity and that is that. Once all the 100 guests or so do that we can eat a delicious buffet consisting of naan, curry- meat, chick peas and a vegetable one, rice and a traditional rice pudding for dessert mmmm.

Now it’s about 10pm and we are all full wondering what happened to the dancing because a) we were full and b) we were going to learn but my family, aunt cousins are spread over Yorkshire, Scotland and London so we didn’t get to practice anyway wishing and hoping no one asked they started to clear the space for dancing and began to do their dances choreographed to Asian music – very good. Then everyone got up mums, aunties and we had a ball!

This was the end of the night… and the boy’s side left to drive back to their respective homes from which we got back at 2pm.

One event completed four more to go mehndi, wedding, walima and civil ceremony…watch this space x

Next the boys Mehndi!

Anyone from Kirklees interested in sharing their wedding story get in touch and it could be placed in audio for on the Asian Voices website!!!


Winter Wedding

Taditional henna (mehndi) on the brides hands

Taditional henna (mehndi) on the brides hands

December is the time for Chritmas, presents, tinsel and Santa Claus…so where does a winter wedding fit into all this and not just any wedding, but a traditional full South-Asian wedding. Now a South Asian wedding is not like any other, I can tell you because not only have I experienced my own taditional wedding and civil ceremony, but have undertaken the role of my brothers wedding. Now having had experience previously, from mine and my older brother  you would think that it is easier or at least you know what you should be doing well no! Because it’s not just one event, but several…I will break it down for you but first let me explain the thinking behind it, the important people are not just the bride and groom, but all the family and when I say all I mean ALL!!!

Mum, dad, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, (mum and dad’s side) grandparents, great aunts, great uncles, first, second, third and even forth cousins…need i go on, it may sould like a normal wedding, but don’t forget we have big families, I am one of four (not so big) but my dad is one of six and my mum one of eight or was it nine?!

Traditional stage where the bride to be (or groom to be) sit

Traditional stage where the bride to be (or groom to be) sit

So the ceremonies; first we have a Mehndi – similar to a hen party (but without alcohol) so we have the girls attending the event who will dance with mehndi plates and then we eat, basically a girls night out. The bride- to-be will stit adorned in traditional mehndi colours of yellow and green, while everyone entertains her. Now traditionally the bride and groom have seperate Mehndis but on occassions as the British and Asian cultures are intergrating, so are the ceremonies (my brother is having seperate ones, therefore more events to attend!)

Secondly, we have the Wedding. Now Indian and Pakistani weddings differ from the religious ceremony, Muslim ceremonys have a NIKKAH and Hindu and Sikh ceremonies are in line with their religions. Overall in both there is a BARRAAT (grooms side) which is what I am on and we go to where

Bride and groom

Bride and groom

the brides familiy are holding the event, taking traditional gifts (wedding favours, Indian sweets- Mati and gift baskets). This is where the brides family greet the groom with flowered garlands (traditionally in Pakistan and India it is made of money – we are in the middle of a credit crunch so flowers are fine!!) and then in seperate rooms the bride and groom undertake the Nikkah, religious bit where they agree to the wedding (like vows). Then they are allowed to sit together and wedding favours are given out before the big full works meal of pilau rice, roast, curry, starter, dessert etc. Then we have the crying bit, the RUKHSATI where the girl leaves with the groom to his house.

The third ceremony is the WALIMA. This is basically a dinner party for the masses the grooms side holds after the wedding; can be a day after or a week whenever you like (some leave this out) religiously it is not a must, but preferential. 

Then we have the CIVIL CEREMONY in the registry office with close family.  WOW! I think thats everything, so I am busy… then  Christmas holidays and not to forget Eid  is around the 8th and I though December was a quiet month…oh but wouldn’t  it be nice if it snowed and then it would really be a wedding wonderland!!

See website  for more wedding pictures x

Please comment if you are from Kirklees and would like your wedding story or family heritage recorded on the Asian Voices website, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and undertaken by the University of Huddersfield.