Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Wedding

Atul Dev's son Amitab and his bride, Hita, are married in a traditional Hindu ceremony. In talking with another guest, they said the wedding was upper, middle class. We were both amazed at what we saw and I think it would be hard to attempt to draw comparisons with something from the states. I will attempt to describe only and relate how much I enjoyed attending this event although I'll admit to some trepidation beforehand. Sister Tanner was gung-ho to attend, let me assure you. She had purchased a new "suit" to wear to a wedding that was cancelled in the last hours. I'll have to get a picture of her in the suit and post it later. She was stunning and got immediate attention from Atul Dev as soon as we arrived and compliments continued throughout the evening.

The wedding was held at a military officer's club. This is the entrance that was done up with flower strings, lighted candles, rose pedals on the walk, etc. Beautiful entry.

The groom was standing on a stage when we arrived and shortly after the bridal party made their entrance. The bride's mother has her left arm.

Now tell me, does he look apprehensive or what?

Waiting for the priest to get on the stage and begin a preliminary ceremony. Check out the gold ornaments weighing down the brides arms.

Part of the stage prelims involved each partner putting a huge flower 'lei" around the neck of the other.

It wasn't all serious ...

The bride's grandmother on the left, Atul Dev's sister on the right.

From the stage, the wedding party, which appeared to be only the immediate family, close friends, and bride and groom moved to a cabana type arrangement. The priest is seating the couple before beginning. They had the only chairs. The parents sat on cushions.

Jasmine flowers were strung on thread to create the canopy.

You can see small vases, etc. in front of the priest. He passed these around one at time as part of the ceremony beginning with the smallest along with some incantation. The bride poured a liquid from each into the cupped hand of the groom, then he did the same to her.

A major portion of the ceremony, which lasted about an hour, revolved around a fire in the metal container in the middle. Here the bride and groom are lighting the fire with burning oil from their hand held ladles.

Ceremonies symbolized the hope of prosperity and wealth for the couple.

A well pleased father. The picture being held by Atul Dev's daughter-in-law is that of his deceased wife. An older son is between Atul and the groom.

Part of the ceremony involved walking around the "pit" on four different occasions.

At one point, eveyone in the first row was given something combustible blessed by the priest and then they would toss it on the fire. This was repeated multiple times with a prayer intoned before each tossing.

I believe the strings are called mongul sutra or something like that. They put them over each other's heads. Don't know the significance.

The coconut and leaves are symbols of "auspiciousness" which is very important in the Hindu culture. Don't ask, I got that third hand.

I had to include this shot. Note the groom's left hand. He had his cell on silent and took it out to check a call at least 3 times during the ceremony.

Gifts of gold and cloth were given to the bride by the grooms family after her mother released her. Note that she is now sitting on the groom's family side. They have traded chairs.

Close up of some of the gold and the henna designs on the bride's arms and hands.

The priest had them take 7 steps on the rose pedal path along with giving instruction.

I took this right after we got there. The food was amazing. The line goes all the way back to a pavilion that is facing you. The pavilion had Chinese and Italian cuisine and there was bakery with multiple ovens in front of the pavilion. Before the actual wedding ceremony was over, the whole area was filled with people eating appetizers that were served by a bevy of waiters. I got tired of taking pictures and standing and wandered out to get some energy several times. The appetizers were very good and not all that spicey.
Sister Tanner had this observation about the couple's car, "Interesting how they decorate it with flowers. No Oreos, shaving cream, balloons or cans tied to the back. They obviously have no class!!!!"

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