'I'm always looking for the Hows and the Whys and the Whats,' said Muskrat, 'That is why I speak as I do. You've heard of Muskrat's Much-in-Little, of course?'
'No,' said the child. 'What is it?'
- The Mouse and his Child. Russell Hoban.

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Friday, 14 August 2015

A Wedding

It's all very exciting!  My oldest son and his partner are getting married at the beginning of October.
My prospective daughter-in-law's parents are Punjabi Sikhs and so the ceremonies around this occasion are, to my eyes, wonderfully intriguing and protracted.  The occasion usually takes place over two weeks, but due to financial and time constraints, this wedding will be just over three days. On the first day 'Maiyan' will take place.  Thomas and Havinder will be, among other things, washed with turmeric, be-bangled, danced and hennaed
Here is some of the information we have been given.

The Punjabi wedding preparation ceremonies are known as Maiyan. We will be performing Vatna, Mehndi, Jaggo and Choora. Sangeet, Giddha and Bhangra will be present throughout the day - singing and dancing.
Everyone celebrates differently, some of these ceremonies are described in more detail on wikipedia.
Vatna the bride and groom are washed with turmeric, mustard oil and chick pea flour.
Mehndi, also known as Henna, is a paste used to draw designs on the skin.
Jaggo is celebration dancing and loud noises to invite the neighbours to the wedding (symbolically, not literally).
Choora are bangles worn by the bride.

The next day the ceremony takes place in the Temple. Apparently the groom's side (that includes me!) are meant to dance into the Temple. Eeek.

Anand Karaj literally translates as "Blissful Union" and is the Sikh marriage ceremony in which two individuals are joined in an equal partnership. A Sikh wedding involves greetings, breakfast, the ceremony, lunch and farewell.
Milni the bride’s side act as hosts and welcome the groom’s side to the temple and to the wedding. The bride herself remains in a back room of the temple until the beginning of the ceremony.
Breakfast is then served to the arriving guests.
During the ceremony men sit on one side of the temple hall and women on the other side. The groom takes his place in front of Sri Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh holy text. The bride joins him.
The ceremony starts with Ardās, a Sikh prayer said before and after events. At various time during the ceremony everyone will be called to stand and sit.
The father of the bride then places one end of a scarf or sash worn by the groom over his shoulders in his daughters hand signifying that she is now leaving his care to join her husbands.
The Lavan hymn of Guru Ram Das is then recited in four stanzas. At the end of each stanza the groom and bride walk clockwise around Sri Guru Granth Sahib. The Lavan hymn describes the progression of love between a husband and wife which is comparable to that between the soul (bride) and God (the husband).
The Anand hymn by Guru Amar Das is then recited. During the start and the end of the ceremony Kirtan is practiced. This involves chanting with a musical accompaniment.
Hukamnama. Sri Guru Granth Sahib is opened to any page at random and the hymn is read out as the days order from the Guru for the occasion.
Karah Prashad the ceremonial sacramental pudding is given to everyone to mark the end of the ceremony.
The ceremony lasts for about two hours
Lunch is then served in Langar.
At around 1pm the Bride and Groom are sent off in Dholi.
  • The temple is a holy place
  • Decent knee length or full length dresses or pants for women
  • Men wear full length pants
  • Heads to be covered at all times in temple with either a scarf or a bandana
  • No smoking or drinking alcohol on temple premises
  • No tobacco in pockets, please leave in car
  • No drinking beforehand
In the evening we will all go out to the wedding reception location by the beach and have lots of food and talking and, if Havinder's family are in usual form, huge amounts of food, laughter and talk.  I can hardly wait!

Meantime, I am going to make my outfit!
I have a length of dark green bordered silk to make into a dress, a paler green silk scarf (to cover my head in the temple) and also a hand-embroidered phulkari that Havi's mum and dad gave me, that I hope to make into a jacket.  I will also need the baggy Punjabi pants under everything, probably in black.

The material:



The jacket pattern (I won't put on the pockets) :


The trousers:



The (very) general look I am going for:





29 comments:

  1. I have always viewed Sikhs as good people, and I'm sure their traditions will be equally as good. Sounds like you're going to have fun.

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    1. I do think they ARE good people Cro. I shall know a lot more by the end of the wedding!

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  2. Wow! It sounds like a very enlightening experience for the grooms family. You are learning so much about another religion.

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    1. Yes Red, a wonderful experience! And of another culture too, albeit rather watered down by New Zealand.

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  3. Wish them all the best. It sounds very exciting.

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  4. This sounds like a very impressive occasion. I hope the young couple will be very happy. I also hope that both sets of parents remain friendly. My parents and my husbands parents never met, thank goodness.
    Good luck with the sewing.

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    1. Thank you Louise. For your two wishes, and your warning! I get on pretty well with her parents, and although I'm a quieter, more reclusive kind of person, I enjoy their ebullience and spontaneity.

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  5. Kate, you are joining a select club indeed! Our second son married an Indian Muslim with all the Indian Muslim traditions that went into that important event - the Henna is very beautiful. Indian fabric is very vibrant and beautiful and I am sure you will be a very beautifully dressed Mother of the groom.

    This is probably putting the cart before the horse but our first grandson is a product of this Pakeha / Indian union and I have to say (of course I am biased) that the little fella is the most astonishingly handsome young man ..... soooo that's something to look forward to! : > )
    I hope we get to see lots of 10 X 40 (or whatever) glossies of you in your wedding dress!!

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    1. Thank you Alden. I am sure that all my grandchildren, if I get any, will be the most beautiful children on the planet.

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  6. What beautiful fabric. Doesn't look to difficult to sew either. The jacket in silk might be a little trying. I do hope that you have your henna hands done for the occasion. Or, maybe the week before when all the celebrating starts.

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    1. Yes PTG and W. The embroidered Phulkari material jacket is going to be a bit of a challenge. I plan to sew each side and cut between, so it doesn't unravel. And I'll probably bind the edges.
      And yes, henna hands are on the Friday I think. I am looking forward to it!

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  7. Kate, those fabrics are gorgeous. You are going to look fab!

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    1. I hope I do them justice Judith. I've finished the lime silk trousers today and they were a bit slippery, but not too bad.

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  8. Sounds like a great occasion. I bet you will be a bit nervous cutting into that lovely material. your outfit sounds stunning!

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    1. I hope I do it without too many unexpected problems Helsie.

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  9. I'd be nervous about the elaborate ceremony, but I do like the clothes :) And the fabrics look wonderful. Best of luck working your magic to make them into a wonderful outfit.

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    1. Monica - we have the Friday to relax and have more unstructured rituals, so we should be ok for the formal temple ceremony on the Saturday I think.

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  10. How very exciting and it's lovely that Thomas and Havinder are taking the plunge. I find it interesting that Sikh traditions will be foremost in the wedding celebrations but what about Thomas's pioneering Kiwi heritage? Will this be sidelined? Or will you also get to wear a nice wedding hat?

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    1. YP - Thomas was more keen on the Sikh ceremony than Havi was. She initially wanted a Turkish celebration - she has a wonderful sense of fun and style. I think her Mum and Thomas wore her down, poor dear. She wanted Thomas to wear his kilt, but I think her Mum has put paid to that idea, and persuaded him with the promise of a sword.
      I am not really a hat person, but will have to wear something on my head in the temple, as do we all.

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  11. Kate, in answer to your question regarding Dan our companion Blogger I posted on James' site and got this reply.

    "Alden, thanks for asking. He's doing great after his procedure, kayaking, hiking, and enjoying retirement. I think he just hasn't had much time for the computer."

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    1. Thanks so much for this Alden. I'm glad he is too busy for blogging!

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    2. Kate, Dan posted on another of his Blogs http://mindfulheart.blogspot.co.nz/ a couple of days ago - seems like he is still going strong and living life to the full. And yes being too busy for blogging is something I should be aiming for, BUT, Blogging has evolved into a journal / diary of sorts for me and I kind of like doing it.

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    3. Yes, I see that Alden. The retrospective contemplative diary aspect of blogging suits me too.

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  12. I was convinced I had commented on this post but it seems that was only in my own head. Anyway the ceremony seems a bit complicated but I like the clothes :) The fabrics you've chosen look lovely.

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    1. You are not going mad Monica. I've just been slack about publishing kind people's comments.
      Sorry!

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  13. Congratulations to the future couple and you.
    Looks like a very, very special occasion. And may the effort put into the wedding ceremony translate into a very special happy marriage.

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    1. Thank you for your kind thoughts Ben.

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  14. Well (I'm just catching up) I've been wondering when that would happen. It sounds very exciting but it's a shame Tom won't get to wear his kilt: he has the figure for it. The trousers look to me like a nightmare to make but then with your skills... Doubles there will be more exciting posts.

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