Thursday, June 26, 2008

Two Very Different Weddings

As I told you previously, I was able to go to two weddings in one week. Weddings here, despite the religion and even social class, are a big deal. Much planning and detail is involved as well as probably too much money (sounds a little like the good ole USA, huh?).

Well, the first wedding we went to was a 2 day event (for guests...much more for the couple and the families). The couple and their families were from the majority religion here as well as pretty well off in the money department. Boy, was it an event! It started Sunday night, with the reception (yes, odd...but we were told this was not normal). That night the couple (who were arranged to be married by their parents) invited friends, co-workers, family, etc. to come. Basically, everyone dresses to the nines and lines up in a row to give their gifts to the couple and have their picture made with them. Then, off to the dining hall where guests are served an extravagant vegetarian meal. It was good!

The next day, mostly just family (and us) came for the actual ceremony. It begins with the entrance of the groom, escorted by the bride's family. They give him gifts, wash his feet, perform a puja (worship ceremony to the family's patron god) and lead him to the stage where his bride awaits. She makes her entrance and more pujas are performed by the couple and the priests there to conduct the ceremony. Most of this involves giving offerings to the god, exchanging flower garlands and giving the bride her gold necklace (called a mangala sutra) that signifies she is a married woman. Then they are again greeted and blessed by all the guests. Some people give them rupees to bless them with wealth. Some pour milk over their joined hands. And then everyone throws a bit of uncooked rice on their heads while wishing them a happy married life. As you can imagine, they get kinda dirty. But, hey, it's tradition! Then, more delicious food is served in the dining hall.

Of course, I did not explain everything in detail fully...and maybe not even accurately. So... CLICK HERE for more info.

Here are a few pics:

the sign in front of the wedding hall

dining hall

our pic with the bride and groom and some family

the god

blessings


And here's a video of parts of the ceremony (Sorry about the first clip being sideways!):

video
The second wedding of the week was a Christian wedding. It was a mix between a traditional, cultural wedding and a traditional wedding in the states. The bride wore a white sari, but some of the same ceremonial activities were performed like the wedding earlier in the week. This wedding was a little shorter, and the reception immediately followed the wedding. The wedding was simple, less lavish and gave glory to the Father. A lot of my American friends were able to go to this wedding because we all new the groom's family. Here are a few pics:

the bride and groom

Becca & me

my family away from home!


It was a neat experience to be able to attend two very different weddings in one week.

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Week of the Sari

This past week we had the pleasure of attending two weddings and, therefore, wearing lots of saris. Saris are the traditional dress of women all over this country and all over South Asia. In different parts of South Asia and even within my country, they are worn in all sorts of different ways, depending on geographical location. They are very beautiful and can be found in all different fabrics, colors, designs, etc. Most women wear them every day. Women work in them whether they are cleaning, doing construction work or being a flight attendant. We rarely wear them and mostly only for special occasions. And, I must say, we find them very uncomfortable. You have about 6 yards of material wrapped around you, pleated and pinned. However, when I wear them I feel very cultural and actually quite beautiful, even if I am a little uncomfortable. For more information about the the sari's history and different styles of draping, click HERE. You'll get more on the weddings in another post.

Here we are being wrapped up by our neighbor for a wedding. We are wearing fancy silk saris for functions, events, etc. Our friend is sporting the everyday sari look.





Pictures of women wearing saris in my country:

As I mentioned, women wear their saris while they work no matter what kind of job they do. This is a street sweeper lady, wearing her sari while she keeps the road tidy.


This is our language teacher in her everyday wear. This is typical of most middle-upper class women.


This is the very fancy and traditional attire of a wedding guest at one of the weddings we went to.


Here are more women from one of the weddings. Obviously, this wedding was more upscale than most.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Bye for now, friend!

Our friend is from another country, but is a student here. She is heading back to her home for about 5 months for an internship. She and her family have become our very good friends, housing us every weekend when we travel to the city that she studies in. She spent her last night in this country with us (our city has the international airport in it). We went out to dinner with some other friends and had an excellent time. It was bittersweet, but we look forward to her return. She'll be back before Christmas! Lift her up as she continues to seek Him while there.





In other news...

A team of ladies from SOUTH GEORGIA (!) just came to do some volunteer work, and they held a get-together for the women in our city. The ladies are from Preston, Georgia, and it was fun to be able to talk about our "neck of the woods" with each other. They brought us some American goodies, magazines and great fellowship. Here's a picture of me and the ladies. I'm holding The Georgia Magazine that features an article about my hometown's folk-life play, Swamp Gravy (see www.swampgravy.com).

Monday, June 9, 2008

Diligence...

I know. I know. I've been a slacker with updating my blog and sending out updates. But, I truly want to keep yall informed. So...here's my hope. I want to update this thing at least weekly. Lofty goal, I know. But, I think I can do it. We stay busy enough each week that I am sure there will be something to say.



This week the Father has been teaching me more about intercession. I'm am sure we all feel this way at some point, but lately I've been feeling overwhelmed with all the people and requests I want to bring before Him. I've tried being really organized about my list and praying for certain things on certain days, etc. But, it started to feel very methodical and not so personal. This week I just said, "I want to pray for all this stuff, but I just don't know how to do it. Show me what to do." Well, brilliant Holy Spirit spoke up and told me just to listen for a while. Then, any people I thought about or situations that came to my mind while listening would be what I prayed about that day. Well, duh! But, how amazing! Instead of feeling like I was just going through the motions, I felt like I was truly interceding on behalf of those who needed it that day because it wasn't me deciding what to pray for. All this to say that there's nothing wrong with organizing your prayer journal, etc. (I still have one that guides me), but sometimes just listening and then praying for whoever/whatever comes to mind is more in line with His wishes for your intercession time. But, warning! Wandering thoughts do try to interfere. What's for lunch is not important at that time, but pushing the idea of making salsa away isn't always easy. I sure do love salsa. But try it! Be still. Listen. Pray.