My Trip to India 3: Celebrations!

This is the last of the My Trip to India series. After half-a-year, we can finally put this journey to a close (because I have procrastinated way too long before I actually wrote about it). Hopefully, this will make way to other travel posts, which I believe will mostly be places here in New Zealand!

Anyway, on to the final post! This time I’ll be telling you about the celebrations I’ve experienced, because it was for a celebration that we all flew to India in the first place. My boyfriend’s big sister got married and we were all lucky enough to have witnessed an Indian wedding (because most Filipinos are Catholic and are thus wed church-style). Because the bride wasn’t Indian though, it was kind of like a half-Indian wedding. I learned early on that the normal Indian wedding celebrations involved lots of people and happened over a couple of days, but the celebration we had involved less people and only took one day. Which wasn’t very bad, considering that we still got to be very involved.

I was very excited when I found out that we were all attending a Mehndi party of sorts. It’s like a hen-party for the bride. Tumeric or mehndi is used to draw temporary decorations on the skin. It takes hours and hours of meticulous effort to produce beautiful patterns on the hands and feet of the women (in the case of the bride, the entire arms and legs!) which is why I was told this was a time for the bride and all her close women friends and relatives to talk and bond before she marries.

One of the Indian women working on the arm of the bride.

One of the Indian women working on the arm of the bride.

True enough, all the ladies were helpless that day. Below is my boyfriend’s big sister, having an itch on her nose scratched by Auntie M. The men served to feed us samosas, help us drink out of cups, and scratch us when we’re itchy! It was a funny sight, with everyone holding their arms at a length until the turmeric dried!

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Please scratch!

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Busy, busy day.

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Such careful attention to details!

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My turn!

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It was quite the challenge to keep your arms at this position for hours!

The next day, we headed early to go to the Renaissance Hotel in Mumbai, where the wedding was to be held. The family of the groom was kind enough to sponsor the saris that we were to wear for the wedding. The whole morning was spent getting us into our individual saris, making us up, and styling our hair. It was interesting to watch the crew put on our saris for us in different styles! Thankfully, my sari was wrapped around me in such a way that hid my tummy! But all in all, I felt somewhat regal in our bright and vibrant blues, purples, reds, and golds!

Getting the saris on was a ritual in itself!

Getting the saris on was a ritual in itself!

My awesome jeweled hair pin!

My awesome jeweled hair pin!

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The bride’s make-over… so grand!

The ceremony was pretty cool. I’ve only been exposed to our traditional church-weddings, so this was interesting for me. What happened was that the groom and all the men in the group started a sort-of noisy, cheerful parade towards the entrance of the garden. They carried the groom in their shoulders, and at other times, danced around him, and basically just cheered. The bride’s parents waited at the entrance of the garden, while we, the bride’s maids, hid the bride out of sight somewhere in the corner of the garden. Once the groom reaches the entrance of the garden, the parents of the bride make a kind of gesture (with the silver tray seen in the picture below) which means that they welcome the groom into their family. The bride wasn’t able to walk down the aisle with her father, as per our tradition, but I felt like this was also a sweet and meaningful way to start a marriage. Besides, it’s about two families coming together as well!

Mother and daughter.

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I wish I could go on to describe what actually went on during the ceremony… but unfortunately, I didn’t understand anything! I observed that throughout the ceremony though, the parents from both sides were also present. This was nice, keeping with the more Eastern tradition of having both families together.

The bride and groom starting a fire together.

The bride and groom starting a fire together.

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Bride and Groom with both of their families

Bride and Groom with both of their families

Bride and groom with the ladies!

Bride and groom with the ladies!

The ceremony was followed by lunch, and then a break for everyone during the afternoon. We got all dressed up again for the evening ceremony, where in most of us wore traditional Filipino evening gowns. The bride was again adorned in Indian saris and jewelery while the groom was in a tux, making them both look like famous Bollywood actors!

With the Bride's family, sporting traditional Filipino garments

With the Bride’s family, sporting traditional Filipino garments

Of course, I had one especially made for the occasion as well, thanks to my Tita!

My Filipiniana gown.

My Filipiniana gown.

And with that, I guess it’s a wrap! Thanks so much for being patient as I tried to figure out which pictures deserved being immortalized in a blog! Believe me, it was hard. But nevertheless, I enjoyed reminiscing about my time in India, and much is left to be discovered! xoxo

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Until next time!

Until next time!

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