7/29/2008

Hindu Wedding

Chapter # 29 of my glamorous life - In which the hubster and I attend a Hindu Wedding.

Above - the happy couple, grad students in the hubster's department at UNT, prepare to start the ceremony. Below, some little girls prepare to dance at the reception.

Below, not to be outdone, some little boys take the floor.


Below : Good friends share a table at the reception : all are members of the hubster's department at UNT. See hubby in the far back, left.


Below : We all toss flowers onto the bride as she processes by. GFT would be the only Anglo woman in this photo.


The hubster and I are blessed with a truly diverse and most of all, fun social life. A recent example of this would be the Hindu wedding of a grad student in hubby's department at work, which we attended.

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The wedding invitation we received said the wedding started at 10 am on a Saturday, at a Hindu temple located on the other side of the DFW metroplex from where we live (it was held in Arlington, Tx.). Not knowing any better, hubby and I showed up at 9:45 am ( as you would for a WASP wedding, to get a good seat.). We were the only ones there, except for the priest, an ancient and dignified gnarled old man who was sweeping and cleaning the temple. As we looked around, in a clear state of confusion at the empty hall, he came over and said to us, " When Indians say 'wedding start at 10 am', they really mean, add 5-7 hours to that time. We make joke of it, call it 'Indian Standard Time.' ( IST) hahahahaha !!!! " Sure enough, around 2 pm, the bride arrived, and began to get dressed. She had several ceremonial attendants dress her in layers of beautiful silk saris and veils, drape her in flowers, and paint the traditional swirling designs of reddish henna on the soles of her feet and palms of her hands. Awhile later, the groom showed up - his sartorial preparations were much less involved.

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Somewhere around 3 pm, the wedding began. In many ways, it was similar to the standard BCP Episcopalian wedding rite that GFT is familiar with. The wedding couple took vows, repeated important phrases, the audience and families of both wedding partners promised to uphold and support them, and there was a procession at the end. The design and layout of the temple was entirely different from the long narrow nave of an old style Christian churches, however- instead, the alter was in the center of the space, on the floor, covered with a sort of awning that recalled the Baldecchino of St Peter's. The families, friends, audience, and other witnesses sat on chairs or on the floor in a tight configuration around the altar, with a more casual sprawl of little children on the fringes playing with toys and skipping about. The wedding couple processed around and around, at the end , and all the audience threw flowers on them. They then processed into a large room next door filled with a dozen shrines to various Hindu deities. ( GFT made a supplication to Ganesh, her personal fave.)

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The actual ceremony wrapped up around 4 ish. We were then told to go home and take naps, to get ready for the party, which would commence around 7 pm......"IST " . So hubster and GFT did exactly that. For part two of this adventure-packed day, we drove to what can only be described as an Indian shopping mall, in Richardson, Tx. This huge sprawling complex was filled with a multi-plex theater that only showed Bollywood movies, several restaurants and stores. The wedding reception was held in one of the restaurants , and was much like a traditional reception at any wedding in America : a great buffet with wonderful food, a dance floor, lots of family , friends and co-workers, all mingling, eating, and dancing. I think there might have even been an ice sculpture......the only thing missing, of course, was the booze.

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