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?!
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
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 www.asianvoices.org.uk/galleries/view/7 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.