Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Pakistani Wedding Traditions

Can you believe that it's September already? Where does the time go?

Today's focus is on wedding customs from Pakistan. They traditionally are big and colorful celebrations. I'm only focusing on a few of the ceremonies - obviously the culture is very rich, and you can find entire books focused on each culture's wedding practices.



Weeks before the wedding, the couple throws themselves a party called the Dholki. Dholk is a traditional drum that is used for the party and guests sing and dance to the beat. Friends and family get together to practice their dances for the mehendi.


The wedding ceremony, or nikah, is fairly simple - the bride and groom are separated, and the officiant asks them each if they are willingly entering the marriage. The couple signs a marriage license and the officiant brings them together, pronouncing them husband and wife.


Photo credit: Ann Torrence

The first ceremony is called the mehendi. They are similar to bridal showers, but sometimes are held for both the bride and the groom. The traditional garb for the bride is a yellow dress; she has mehendi (henna) painted on her hands and feet.



The baraat sounds a bit like a receiving line - friends and family of the groom form a processional and visit the bride's family home. The family is given a warm welcome, and the two families exchange glasses of juice or sherbet and money. Guests are welcomed to the home by the bride's sisters who playfully hit guests with a flower-covered stick (sounds like the perfect chance for a passive-aggressive how-dare-you-marry-my-little-sister tap to the noggin)


The walima is basically the same as a Western wedding reception. Many friends and families gather together for a feast. The bride wears a beautiful and ornate dress (provided by the groom's family), and the groom wears a suit or tuxedo.

These weddings sound like so much fun! I would love to experience a multi-day party like this. But then my cynical side says "Wait, no open bar, and I have to be the bride's lackey for 3 days? No thanks!" Either way, the Pakistani people really know how to throw an eye-catching party.


Source, and Source for the information.

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