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
our pic with the bride and groom and some family
And here's a video of parts of the ceremony (Sorry about the first clip being sideways!):