Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Wacky Wedding Wednesday

Six hundred photos later, the weddings are over. Ha, just kidding, some of those photos are of the sweet (candy) makers.

Technically I only went to one and a half weddings. Turns out wedding number three was in Jaffna -- that is in the north in the heart of the war, so I didn't go. Actually, I would really like to go to Jaffna, but it was not in the cards for this wedding. Then the cars from the office left at 8, which means we missed most (pretty much all) of the first wedding. Apparently that is o.k., as long as you come for the photos the bridal party is happy. Who knew.

At this first wedding there was an elderly gentleman who kept telling me what to do. It was funny, because I was with several Tamil girls who could tell me these things. Anyway, we were called for photographs and I came dutifully. The old man stopped me and said, "why don't you get something to eat." I had already eaten and I was in there because I was asked to be there, but he said it in a tone like he was absolutely exasperated by this foreigner. Oh well, we got our photo with the new couple and left for the next wedding.

I really wanted to see a ceremony. Since the weddings today were Tamil weddings, which means Hindu, I could finally got to see the walk around the fire. So we made it to the second wedding in time to see everything. The fire walk wasn't as exciting as I've made it out all these years, but still very nice to see. A great deal of the ceremony seems to be just for the couple. They are sitting up on a stage so you can see, but you cannot hear what the swami is saying and the guests are talking nonstop.

Sriranjini looked beautiful. We went in to see her before she came out to join her future husband and I completely didn't recognize her. Of course she is a beautiful woman, but she isn't very flashy and to see her in all that finery was quite a shock. I sincerely thought I might have been mistaken on who was getting married.

So the groom does a bunch of blessings, offerings, etc. and then the bride comes out. She sits next to her future husband and then also participates in the blessings/offerings. The parents come up (this is about 1/2 hour later, I'm really condensing this for you) and give the gifts. The brides sari from her in-laws is put on a tray with some fruit and sent around to the guests to bless -- it looks like some people also gave jewelry to add to the sari. Then she leaves to go change into the new, red with gold embroidery, sari. We sat around for about 20 minutes waiting and drinking soda (with straws, I'm going to have to talk to Sriranjini when we get back to the office. She may be in the gender program, but that dosn' t exempt her from being environmentally sound).

When she returned, more resplendent than ever, they prepared to walk around the small flame that had been part of the blessings. Somewhere in there the parents gave numerous flower leis that had to be removed before they could actually walk. I don't even know how Sriranjini held her head up with all that gold weaved into her hair.

Once they finished their Hindi traditions, they went over to a table and registered. I couldn't see this process as it was on the other side of the room, but it took a long time.

Then we settled in for our second Indian meal of the day (before noon!). I was happy because I'm a big fan of Southern Indian food. After we ate we were called for photographs. After we had our official wedding photo, I stuck around to take pictures of everyone. I think they finally realized I was willing to take their picture, because suddenly I had all these people who wanted photos.

I have a play-by-play photographic account of this wedding that will be on Flickr as soon as I weed them down (I'm sure you don't want to weed through 500 photos).

I'm off soon, so I'm going to try to edit some photos before I leave town again.

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