Monthly Archives: January 2009

Home

I find the most interesting question I ask people in my Oral History research is where do you see your home? Now for you and I this may be a straight forward answer; but if you were born in another country and came to England as a child or even later on in life, where would you see your home? 
Questions?

Questions?

 

It still fascinates me the length people went to, to build a better life for themselves which I am grateful to as I being British Asian would not be here if they hadn’t done so, but this sacrifice didn’t just affect the Asian community, but Irish, Afro-Caribbean and many others communities that still have to migrate from their homeland after conflict, due to poverty and to seek a better life. The roots they hold are firm passing on their proud cultural heritage and traditions from their birthplace, but once rooted in England they are nourished by the new culture and grow with it enriching everyone around them. 

home is where the heart is

home is where the heart is

In my lifetime and through my research, I have encountered many people in this situation; my parents themselves have dual heritage, my dad maybe less so as he came to Huddersfield at the age of five so sees himself as British, but my mother who came when she was eighteen, still a young age, but as she left her family in Pakistan she strongly felt that Pakistan was still her home. It was only after her parents died that her connections weakened and despite her siblings still living there and her mother’s home still standing, her heart now belongs in Huddersfield with her children, her home and her life. 

Now for the first time this year my granddad who came to England in 1960 has gone to Pakistan. He is in his late 70’s and my grandma is not far behind, now they will go to Pakistan a few times in the year probably eight weeks here and eight weeks there…their birthplace is Pakistan, their home is England they have the best of both worlds.

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Hope

Looking across the ocean we see the inauguration of Barak Obama, he has beeen sworn in as president of the United States of America; the first African American president. This person places ‘United’ into another element in which Black and Asian people everywhere will look at themselves and say ‘we are united, anything is possible’. People of all races, religions and creeds, people from different states and continents will look at themselves and think this is achievable we could be President or Prime Minister; it gives us hope for ourselves and for our future generations. 

 

Researching South Asians in Huddersfield and seeing the diversity within Huddersfield and Yorkshire, shows how far the minority communities have come; working initially in manual labour jobs, leaving behind families and now being able to achieve highly skilled jobs makes you understand the sacrifice the previous generations have done was worthwhile, paving the way for us and future Barak Hussein Obamas.

The Wedding – All that glitters

 

Wedding Bouquet

Wedding Bouquet

So the day finally arrived, the day of the wedding, the day that we had spent months preparing for… co-ordinating clothes, shoes and accessories, the day our brother was getting married 🙂

 

Now we had matched up the groom’s outfit to go with the bride, who was wearing the sherman which I quote he said “sounds like someone herding sheep” LOL. Anyway a sherwani, paag; which is a traditional hat and kusay; which are hand-made leather shoes, embroidered with gold thread and turned up at the front (these can come in all sorts of shapes and sizes). He also had a red and gold scarf over his shoulders to match the bride.  
 
 As we were on the boys side, the wedding part was hosted by the girls side of the Newcastle. We arrived in convey outside the hotel  and entered with two Dhol players heading the front of the procession from which we were greeted with flower garlands,  the sisters were given a single red rose each and then were then lead to the stage area. The colour theme was red and gold and everything was beautifully co-ordinated, somehow even the guests were!!
Groom's Side

Groom's Side

 

Live Classical Indian Music

Live Classical Indian Music

Classical Indian music was playing in the background, a live sitar and tabla and the dinner was a four course silver service feast (five including the cake). So the setting was perfect.

Now for the important stuff the Nikkah. Muslim ceremonies have a nikkah which is the religious part of the wedding and basically like the vows at a Civil Ceremony. The bride is separate from the groom and is asked by an Imaan (Muslim priest) if she consents to marriage, this is asked three times and she will reply “I do” or “Kabool Hai”. Once the bride agrees she signs the marriage document and the Imaan asks the groom the same three times if he consents to marry his bride to be. Once agreed the groom also signs the form and the Imaan prays that they have a happy life together and the congratulations begin.

It is traditional for the Groom side to bring Shewaray; dried dates, coconut and other things which are given out straight after the Nikkah (like wedding favours). After everyone has congratulated the groom the bride comes into the main hall and sits with her husband…awww.

The eating begins and finishes with a three-tier wedding cake, after which gifts are

Wedding Cake

Wedding Cake

given to the groom’s family from the bride’s family and we finish the wedding by the Rukhsati…taking the bride home.

 

See website www.asianvoices.org.uk/galleries for more wedding pictures x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Boys mehndi – food and more food

Even though the family is from Huddersfield and lives in Huddersfield, the boy’s Mehndi was the only event actually held in Huddersfield. Now firstly, there was a big debate about where we should hold the event; my dad wanting to hold the mehndi at the Pakistani Community Centre on Clare Hill and I wanting it at the Hudawi Cultural Centre on Great Northern Street. Both venues are completely different size wise and atmosphere, most people now choose the Hudawi centre as it is bigger and hall like, but no matter how hard I tried to persuade my dad, like always dad stuck to his guns and won – his argument was that I had my mehndi there, my brother had his so it was now tradition ??!! So this was where the boy’s mehndi was held.

We started off at my mum’s house dipping strawberries, grapes and various other fruits into milk and white chocolate…mmmm for the rasom (in which aunties, cousins feed the groom traditionally Indian sweets, but we replaced them with a fruit assortment [only as many of us don’t have a taste for them] then the guests place henna on the palm and give small amounts of money, which will be given to charity). Once we had everything for the rasom we made our way to the Community Centre to set up the stage and general décor. We had a green and yellow balloon arch with a green, yellow and gold back drop and yellow chrysanthemums on each table setting. Yellow and green are traditional mehndi colours…

So my brother came in dressed plainly and the sisters and cousins walked him in carrying a red deputta (scarf) over him. The reason for this I don’t know but I think red signifies marriage as this is the traditional colour for the bride’s outfit. Once he was seated, we brought in our henna plates and did a little dance before placing the plates with tea lights in front of him… photo opportunity… next the rasom again more photos and after the food… no pics here everyone was too busy enjoying the food LOL.

After this we all went home to carry on with the dancing and merriment on the last day of singlehood….

Countdown to the wedding begins x