But only for a wedding…. Just kidding! I like to make fun of NJ especially when it’s in the context of NY, but it’s all in good fun especially considering some of my good friends live in New Jersey. As this is often the case, it is usually my friends that bring me back to the Garden State (and even the Great Lakes State, now that I think about it), and this time it was to see SP and CE get married.
Indian weddings are usually a multi-day affair. I think a full Indian wedding lasts for 3 or so days, but I usually hear about the shortened 2 day version. I have no idea what each day represents though. Come to think of it, up to now, I’ve only gone to Indian weddings where only half the couple is Indian. In spite of this fact, the wedding always seems to split in favor of Indian traditions more so than the other half. I’m not sure why exactly. It’s probably just coincidental, but I’d venture a guess that maybe because there are a lot more traditions, ceremonies, dress changes, etc than the other culture. So it makes for a more beautiful, more festive affair.
This was actually the first time that I attended the Sangeet or a Baraat (I don’t know which one it was), which is a pre-wedding evening of dance and merriment. There are all sorts of different dances that everyone does, I think there are 3 specific sections or types of dances. It was very interesting to watch. It was neat the way everyone was dancing and moving in sync around the circle. They would move in one direction and know when exactly to change directions and move back and then forward again. Both old and young alike knew the moves and enjoyed the dancing.
I have to say, it looked like a lot of fun, but when you aren’t participating, it’s not as enjoyable. My friend told me that they learn these dances from when they were kids, so I don’t think it is something you can just pick up on the fly. However, the last dance of the evening was more appropriate for beginners. The party favor of the evening was a pair of long wooden sticks which are actually used in this last dance. I don’t remember exactly how it went, but it was kind of like “paddy cake, paddy cake” only with sticks instead of hands and a turn added at the end. When you see all the Indian people, it looked very artistic and beautiful, but when the newbie non-Indians tried it, it just looked like an awkward mess. It was still a lot of fun, and I had a good time despite my futile attempts at trying to tap the sticks with any flair or rhythm. Hehe!
The rest of the evening was filled with food, drinks, pictures and even henna tattoos. It was a good time all around.
The bridge and myself. She looked BEAUTIFUL! Seriously, I don’t think I fully appreciated how intricate and colorful the sari’s were until this wedding. I wish I had some good pictures of her in the other ones as well. The white one she wore for the Christian ceremony was really nice too.