Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Events Leading up to Wedding Ceremony

Well after all the before partying, the time has almost arrived for my brother and his wife Devina's lavaan phere which is the Sikh wedding ceremony, also known as anand karaj. 

I was a flutter all morning thinking of my brother and how he must be feeling and just imagining him in his moment and promising mama that I would be right by his side through it all for her. Since losing our mother, I can speak from personal experience that the most meaningful and significant moments in life without her just don't feel right. While I always *feel* her presence, having her there physically would have meant SO much at things such as my wedding, the birth of my first son, the birth of my second, their birthday parties etc. I knew it was time for my brother to feel this and the pain is quite indescribable and while I couldn't take that away for him, I just needed to be there for him. I tried to garner a sense of peace and calm so I wouldn't be a puddle of tears when he turned to the rock he needed to lean on. This was to be HIS moment and in that time, u need a strong soul to guide u through, to reassure u and to constantly comfort u with their smile, no words necessary but that knowing smile and loving touch that everything is going to be ok. I am here with u. and I love u more than anything I know how to love. Right before the wedding, my brother was very emotional as was expected and I got a few moments with him alone to let him know I was there for him - physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. Our bond is like none other and I was just so honored to see him through his day with this beautiful woman. I smiled and waited til he heard what i was saying. I said "it's OK. U look amazing. Mom is SO proud of u as am I. She is here and we both know it. Now, come on, let's go get Devina. She is waiting for u." :)

There are a few rituals before the ceremony, one of which is called the sera bandi where the sister along with the female cousins prepare the groom for arriving at the ceremony by adorning his turban and walking him into the hall. This is usually accompanied with a prayer that I recited along with the elder females of the family.

The sisters also feed the horse some grains and corn before getting the groom ready. This was kind've nuts because I started offering the horse my HAND full of food when the horsekeepers were like girl what are u DOING? and told me to just offer him the bowl with the food inside it which he should eat from. Yea, could've had a fatality right there. Jeez. I need specific directions people!

Another tradition is for the youngest male on the male's side to sit atop the horse the groom rides on. This youngest male is usually a child, if not a baby and is called the sarballa. The sarballa for this wedding was my little lion Kavan! We had been practicing riding a horse and elephant for months so he wouldn't get nervous but I was prepared for his hesitation and anticipated stage fright so our backup sarballa was my second little lion Jeevan. When we saw the horse, I brought Kavan out there to pet it and feed it which I think helped. They both had a turn riding the horse. Unfortunately while we had plans for an elephant, those plans fell through.

Next, one of the BEST traditions we have is for the whole entire groom's side, called the baraat to DANCE all the way up to the bride's side along to a - u guessed it - DHOL (Drum) BEAT. We arranged live drummers to walk along our side the whole way. This is usually a few blocks but we must have danced a mile in the hot goa sun on the beach to get to the bride. Oh my lord I wasn't expecting that workout - we were all sharing water and sweating by the time we got up there but as soon as we got off the beach and passed through the foliage of the Goa woods and saw the bride's party up high on a raised platform where the ceremony was to be held, we went NUTS screaming, dancing, hollering and just bringing my amazing brother in on his horse. I led the baraat with my father. I wore a green lengha (skirt and top with scarf) that my brother picked out to match his outfit. It was a little jazzy for me for a religious ceremony but I must admit, lots of fun to wear and dance in :)

Last, a part of the wedding event is called the Milni which means MEETING where the males in the bride's family formally greet and meet the males in the groom's family. They hold garlands, put them over their counterpart's head and then there is usually a fun part where the guys tussle to see who can pick up the other one first. While the significance of the milni is very sweet, everyone is usually waiting to see who gets picked up :) I told Bobby if he doesn't pick up the guy he is paired up with - not to come home. haha. My sis in law said the same thing to Bobby's brother when we got married. It's kind;ve competitive I'd say.

Enjoy :)

My cousins and I before the ceremony at the groom's side house

The home where the breakfast before the ceremony was held

My brother on the horse and us all watching

Ardas prayer in the morning with the groom's side

Me doing the serabandi which was attaching the piece covering Moni's face

Me with Kavan and my brother - the groom!
My little lion and his daddy

Making sure these strings weren't clouding Moni's vision

Bobby and I :)

The guys hanging out

A friend made me pose for this

My Kavu and I  having some tea
I am beaming with pride standing with my brother

My cousin Natasha and I 

My cousin Raja and I with Kavan

More serabandi

Boys side guys :)

In the car with My brother

Love this shot of him. Getting ready for a prayer
Baraat dancing

Me pinning on strings to his turban

My cousin Natasha and I pinning on the strings to Moni's turban 

Kavan and his daddy
leading moni out

Little lion #2 with his mamu (maternal uncle (my brother)))

baraat dancing

Kavan and I with one of my favorite aunties

Moni looks amazing on that horse

Monu and I :)

Daddy and I

He looks like a Maharaja here (Prince)

Mama's duties still call - Me feeding Jeevu :)

What a sport!

The baraat (groom's side) walking/dancing on the beach

It was nice of the bride's side to decorate our path and provide us a matting to walk on!


Dancing on the beach!

Dhol walas (Drummers) with us the entire time. The drumbeats rang throughout the village

Daddy and I leading the baraat

Man it was hot

The drumbeat was INFECTIOUS

By my brother's side

Guys doing their thing

Little lion #1 - SO proud of him for getting up there!


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