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Thread: pakistani wedding!

  1. #1
    this is specially 4 unexpected cuz she dint ever c that

    wOrK SmaRt NoT HaRd......

  2. #2
    Anatomy of a Pakistani Wedding
    It must first be said that I am hardly the right person to describe the incredibly complex process that is a Pakistani wedding, or shadi. I'll give it a try, but first I must give a disclaimer - Pakistan is a land of vast diversity, with there being many different countries in one depending on your economic or ethnic status. So, the process I am going to describe to you is by no means absolute - in fact I will probably butcher the names and even the specifics of some traditions. But, you should get the general jist of what a Pakistani shadi is all about. Well, at least from the section of society in which my family resides.

    While most parents in Pakistan seem to be plotting their child's wedding the moment it is conceived, the planning starts in earnest with the magni, or engagement. Mangis are arrived at in a variety of manners - the more traditional method entailing the boy and his parents going over to the girl's house to 'see' the girl. Usually, the girl will serve tea or make some other kind of token appearance, and then the boy and his family go home and decide if they like the girl and her family. Family is of the utmost importance here - it is generally assumed that if the family is good then the son or daughter is good too. In this traditional method, the boy's father would then send the proposal to the girl's father, and after consulting with his daughter the girl's family either accepts or rejects. Of course, in this age of globalization, kids who grew up watching Friends are not going to go for such a thing, so the process is changing. Dating has entered the fray in Pakistan, but it is usually done on the sly and the parents are not told until the couple is ready for marriage. But, whatever the method, once the match is made and both parties have accepted, the fun begins.

    The magni itself is a very small ceremony with all the close family present to see the couple formally engaged. As with all ceremonies in this Muslim country, a prayer is said to ensure the smoothness of the process and the happiness of the couple. Food is usually served afterwards, but this is usually a pretty reserved affair. The shadi date is set, usually a good 6 months or more out, and it is during this period of engagement that couples following the more traditional route, who at this point hardly know each other, get to hang out and begin their first attempts at a relationship. While this is happening, the rest of the family (read mothers, aunts, sisters and any other lady affiliated with either side) begin the frantic process of accumulating clothes, jewelery, shoes, venues, caterers - pretty much the stuff that every culture needs for a wedding. The main difference being that in a western wedding all these arrangements are made for one day, while in Pakistan shadis usually last for about a week and have three or four major functions associated to them.

    The first function is called the mayoun. The traditional basis for the mayoun was to formally declare that the shadi process has begun, and to absolve the bride of all chores, errands or any other little distractions that may prevent her from looking her absolute best on the big day. She will usually get an herbal past - called the ubtan - put on her face and body, and various primping and priming will be performed during the next few days so that she looks and feels like a queen when she is finally ready to go home with her king. The mayoun starts out with the hadith a kisa, which tells a story about Prophet Mohammed and his family and how much love they had for one another. The next stage is the milad, which happens on most happy occasions and consists of all the women of a clan gathering around and singing songs in praise of the Prophet. After these two religion-based events are done, the mayoun generally disolves into a dolki, which is a generic term for singing popular songs of all kinds, usually with two or three percussion intruments accompanying (the main one being the dolik). The girl, now officially the dulhan, or bride, wears a simple yellow outfit and is brought in early during the festivities to modestly watch and chat with everyone. Usually, she is brought in by her brothers, sisters and cousins, under a decorative dhupatta, or scarf. As she sits and watches, elders from the family approach her and will circle her head with their hands full of money. This process is called satka, and it is meant to keep the bad spirits away from the dulhan during her moment in the sun. The money used for satka is gathered together and usually given to the matriarch, who then distributes the money to the poor. Also, the women of the family will usually feed the bride sweets while keeping her company.

    After all the singing and rituals, a feast ensues with all the usual things associated with your neighborhood Indian buffet - tikkas, naan, biryani, curries. As is the case with almost all major Pakistani gatherings, the success (or failure) of the party is almost always linked to the quality of the food, so particular attention is paid to this part of the evening. There must always be a meat, vegetable, rice and bread dish, but often the more creative menus will get more compliments. Of course, quality is king, followed by quantity as a close second. In fact, things were getting so out of hand at Pakistani shadis in the 90s, with peasants trying to throw huge feasts just to show that they were 'cool', that the government tried to enact laws to prevent them. The laws stated that the serving of food was forbidden at any other the major hotels or shadi halls, and they did provide those who could not afford these displays with a way out. Of course, the rich and powerful found ways around this, and just recently the laws have been repealed.

    While the mayoun kicks off the shadi process, almost every other event can happen at any time during the next week. The timeline of events is usually subject to many different factors - religious considerations, other shadis going on, flights coming in from out of town - and so on. But, generally speaking, the next event is the mehndi. This is the biggest partying event, and the one usually looked forward to most by everyone. (It is worth noting that while most every event in this process has a large religious component, the mehndi is the one event that is pretty much secular. On the sub-continent, Hindu and Muslim weddings are very similar, with there being deviations only when the religious aspects come into play.) The dulhan's side usually throws this bash, and they are usually waiting at the entrance to the hall or house where the mehndi is taking place with rose petals and garlands, ready to shower the dulha's (groom's) side with them once they arrive. When the dulha's side does arrive, the whole family usually gathers in front, with the sisters and little kids holding trays full of the actual mehndi, or henna, after which the event is named. The henna is usually decorated with all sorts of candles and flowers, and eventually it is placed in an intricate design onto the dulhan's hands and feet (although now the girl will usually go to a professional parlour later to get it done). After the sisters and the children, the dulha's parents, aunts and uncles all come in, followed by loud drums banging and the brothers of the dulha, who escort him in with much pomp and fanfare. Everyone is brightly dressed, and the entrance of the dulha with his family, all dancing and joyous, is usually quite a site to see.

    After the dulha is deposited onto the stage, the dulhan is brought in by her cousins (under the dhupatta again) and seated next to him. Then, the fun begins - the couple's siblings and cousins (during these times siblings and cousins all become pretty much one in the same) have been preparing synchronized dances for weeks on end to be performed at this moment. The skill of these dances varies greatly - some people are dancing for the first time, while others are seasoned pros - but whatever the case, everyone dances for the love of their brother or sister. Often times, the dance practices leading up to the mehndi prove to be the funnest times of the whole process - for my cousin Rashna's wedding, her sister Tania (who is a terrific dancer) would drill people until 1 or 2 in the morning, and then 10 or 15 people would go out and have a huge meal until 3 or 4. And, in our family, my cousin Ali Raza and I have started a new tradition, which entails writing a medley of famous songs set to lyrics which make fun of the couple (think Weird Al, but with some Urdu words thrown in). We performed twice during this wedding season, and felt like rock stars doing it. You can see one of the songs in MPG format (performed the next day at the beach) here. After all the prepared entertainment, there is usually a full dance party, with all members of both families getting up and shaking it a bit. Here is another video that will give you a taste of it.

    Of course, after the entertainment there is a feast, but we have already discussed that, so let's move on. Usually, the next event is the actual shadi, which is the main reception thrown by the dulhan's side and whose main purpose is the rukhsiti, which is when the girl actually goes home to the boy's house for the first time. Before this, of course, they must get legally married, and this ceremony is called the nikka. A purely Islamic event, the nikka usually is attended by only close family, and quite often happens the day of the actual shadi, at the more private setting of the dulhan's family home (as opposed to the shadi, which usually takes place at night in a large hall or under a big tent). The maulana, who is an Islamic holy man, will first say a prayer, and then go into the room where the dulhan is seated. After obtaining her consent, he will then go into the room where the dulha is seated and get his consent too. After the couple, the maulana, and the witnesses have signed, the marriage is declared and everyone starts to hug and say mubarak (congratulations) to one another. Traditionally, tea is served with chuara, which are dried dates.

    So, once legally married at the nikka, the marathon continues in the form of the shadi. While the whole process is called the shadi, this event has the same name and provides the climax of the whole process - the girl comes to the shadi with her family, but goes home with the boy's family. While, in our day of cars and phones this is not such a big deal, back in the day this was big, because often times the girl was moving to another village and her family had no idea when they would see her again. So, this event has some extra signifigance, especially for the bride's side.

    The shadi is put on by the girl's side, and is usually at a large hall. The girl's family arrives first and is waiting to receive the dulha's side, again with rose petals and garlands. The barat (boy's clan) arrives, is greeted, and then the dulha takes up his place on stage. The most traditional, ornate outfits are usually reserved for the shadi itself, with the dulha wearing a white or gold flecked sharwani with elaborate headdress and slippers. The dulhan usually wears red, the traditional wedding color (although nowadays women are starting to get a bit more adventurous with there color choices). Her outfit, and many others, are delivered to her earlier in the week in the bari, which consists of decorated trays or boxes containing not only her wedding dress but outfits for some of the other occasions where she will need to be decked out. The bari comes from the boy's side, and is usually playfully dissed by the aunties and older ladies of the girl's side. But, they are nitpicking, because her dress is usually stunning, with gold woven in intricate designs throughout the cloth.

    The dulhan is brought to the stage (again under the dhupatta and brought by her siblings) and stands with her man before being seated . The couple then sit through numbing amounts of pictures, with there usually only being two breaks - for them to eat from the ever-present feast, or for the ritual of joota chupi, in which one of the sisters of the dulhan steals the slippers from her new brother-in-law and won't give them back until he pays a large some of money. A large, boisterous negotiation ensues, with cousins from both sides throwing out figures at each other and cracking jokes at the cheapness of the dulha. Since this tradition is well known, he usually has a wad of cash on him, and it is up to the girl's cousins and siblings to get it all. At one of the shadis we went to, the groom gave $350 US, which is a hell of a lot in Pakistan. The money is supposed to be used for all the cousins of the dulhan to go out and have a good time with (although, I never saw a penny of that $350).

    Once the fun and games have ended and the food has been devoured, the rukhsiti begins, with an armband inscribed with a prayer being placed onto the dulha, and the dulhan's family gathering around to escort her to the car. This is a very sad moment, and usually there is much crying amongst the women of the dulhan's side. A brother of the dulhan holds a Koran over her head the whole way from the stage to the car to ensure she has good blessings. For my cousin Laila's shadi, I found myself thrust into this role. I tried my best to hold the heavy book high over her head, and as we walked to the car I was taken by suprise by how emotional the whole scene was. In a culture where dating is still pretty much taboo and men and women's interactions strictly governed by an ever-watchful Society, the act of letting your sister go to another family takes on a signifigance that is lost in the West. Most of the couples I know who have gotten married back home have lived with each other before (and on their own before that), and the marriage is a mere formality in terms of practical day-to-day life. In the Pakistani shadi, this is not the case, and when I was escorting Laila to the car of her new husband Babar, I realized how important this moment was in Laila's life, and how sad she was to be leaving her family home.

    Of course, the flip side is the happiness the dulha's side feels at gaining a new daughter. When we got to the car, Babar's aunt starting chatting away to anyone within earshot, assuring our family that Laila was going to be treated in the best possible way and that when she returns to visit she will always have a smile on her face. Usually, the newly married couple will drive straight to a mosque to offer a prayer of thanks and hope for a bright future. After this, they will drive back to the duhla's family home, where they will engage in the rassams, or traditions, specific to that family. In my family, generally the new bride is helped into the living room and seated next to her husband, who again performs a prayer to give thanks to God for bringing him such happiness. Then, a sweet pudding-type desert called keer is placed on the girl's hand, and the boy tries to lick it off while all the women in his family hold his new bride's hand and try to pull it away from him. The girl then eats keer out of the boy's hand as well - this is designed to break the tension between the two and establish a bit of physical contact. The boy then washes the girl's feet in a basin of water, and the water is sprinkled into the four corners of the house to bring wealth, prosperity and luck to the home. The boy's sisters then take the dulhan into her new bedroom to prepare her for her first night as a married woman, and the rest of the boy's siblings and cousins usually block the doorway to the room and won't allow the boy into his bedroom until he pays up again. At this point, it is usually three or four in the morning, and you can imagine the anxiousness of the boy to finally get his hands on his bride, so he pays and, with this last hurdle cleared, is finally allowed into his bedroom, alone with his woman at last, ready to put on the Marvin Gaye and get down to business.

    The next morning the dulhan's brothers will usually perform the choti, which entails going over to their sister's new house and bringing her back for a meal at her own family's house. She is usually decked out in all the clothes and jewelery her new family have given her. The boy's family will also come, and many times they will bring a bunch of fruit and have an all out food fight with the dulhan's side. Much to my chagrin, in none of the four shadi's I was involved with did this take place (with my shortstop experience I'm sure I could have taken some people out). After this, the girl goes back to her new house.

    The last event of the shadi process is the valima, which is an Islamic requirement and is designed to announce the marriage to the community and celebrate the arrival of the fair bride into her new home. Given from the dulha's side, it is usually a large reception where the new couple sit on a stage for viewing and all friends and family come up and have pictures taken with them. Gifts and money are also given at this time (although they can be given througout the shadi process). This is the last event, and the next day the couple starts there happy life together. For the next few weeks, friends and relatives will throw dinner parties for the newlyweds, and the dulhan will get to display the vast armada of clothes and jewelery she has stockpiled during her time in the sun.

    And, with that, you now understand the long, arduous process that makes up a Pakistani shadi. It is quite a spectacle - full of color and laughter, traditions and religion, gossip and intrigue. But, in the end, it is great fun - with Pakistani families today living all over the world, it provides a grand event for everyone to come back, reconnect with their roots, and enjoy their rich and colorful culture. It also allows for new relationships to flower, as a major sideline activity of the shadi is the sizing up of girls and boys for potential matchmaking adventures. So, as one shadi ends, the seeds for the next one are sewn, and the seemingly infinite loop that is the Pakistani shadi process continues on and on...
    wOrK SmaRt NoT HaRd......

  3. #3
    Thanks Candle for posting all this for me
    that was so sweet of you :hug1: :wink:
    thnx 4 sharing :givefl;

  4. #4
    a great info for me too

    Thanks a lot for sharing

  5. #5
    ur welcome n thx for appriciatin meeh

    but how was that did u ppl enjoy or not??

    but mah sis's wedding will b tooooooo different
    we shal have a lot of hungama bhangra n lot of fun!
    wOrK SmaRt NoT HaRd......

  6. #6
    thanks you...for shearing...

  7. #7

  8. #8
    Superb info Glim =)

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