From May to till mid-June is wedding season in India. That means that there are lots of weddings all over the country and in every town. And this is really great news for us. Why? You might be asking yourself, Is it because the Bizilautak are so strong believers in love? Well … we do believe in love, but the real reason is much more practical (and selfish).
Usually on wedding days (during the three days that some wedding celebrations take place), people are happy and in a really good mood. So what do they do when they see three dirty foreign cyclotourist? Invite them for lunch! And we accept!
Indian food is tasty and mainly vegan, so I have the feeling I’m getting lots of weight! Of course in most wedding the food is basically the same, but much more varied than the plain rice we cook with our stove!
They first wedding’s lunch we got invited to was the biggest one we’ve seen. The whole town was there! At first we were a bit skeptic if we were going to like the situation, but Prem Patel, the cousin of the groom, the person who invited us, made our stay great.
We were so comfy there and we eat so much that we decided to stay one more day, to be able to see the actual wedding ceremony. It was really interesting, as well as really relaxing to stay 2 days in a small countryside town.
The wedding day starts early in the morning, with dancing! From the outsides of the town, the groom comes on a white horse surrounded by most of his friends and relatives. But coming with them is usually a band or a DJ, and everybody dances! Of course this blocks the road for almost an hour, but nobody seems to bother.
After arriving to the town and a couple hours of dancing, the groom goes to the bride’s family’s house and then the complicated rituals start. Nobody could really explain me how the ritual goes, who the people taking part were, or what’s the meaning of the things they do. So I’ll try to explain what I saw and what I think it meant.
I don’t know how many times the mother of the bride fed the groom. Lots of different things: bread, ghee, small pastries… I guess is a symbol of acceptance and that they are welcoming him in the family (but again, this is just a wild guess).
Then everybody goes to a stand prepared for the occasion. There a priest has organized many items and both parents of the bride start a really complicated process guided by the priest. They water flowers, open coconuts, eat different things, paint their foreheads, wash the grooms feet. To be honest it seemed as if nobody but the priest knew what is going on or how to do it.
At the end, and after a process that took almost one hour, when everybody seemed to be losing interest, the bride finally is carried to the stand and a few minutes later the wedding ceremony is over and everybody goes home.
I really enjoyed the ceremony (and the food), but what I liked most was way the women dressed: so many color, henna tattoos, jewelry… it was fun to be there, and everybody asking to take their picture, so I had the chance to practice taking pictures with my new camera!
The wedding we attended was arranged. I thought that these things were something of the past, but is very much alive. Since then we’ve been asking some people and most weddings seem arranged, and of course the process is very long and it takes years. In the end everybody has to agree, but for me (maybe because I’m not Indian) anything seems overcomplicated.