A few weeks back was one of my best friend’s betrothal. It was a simple ceremony with few friends and relatives from either sides. Myself being an Hindu, had been to several of my relatives betrothals and weddings. I’ve been to quite a number of my Christian friends weddings. But this was the first ever time I attended a Christian Betrothal. The researcher part of my brain woke up and I was trying to find the specialties.
Essentially being in India, the dressing is very much different from the European Christian styled betrothals. She was wearing a beautiful green saree and yeah, I know you’re going ‘Wow’ on that. Another specialty of being in India, the saree drape. She had draped her saree in a Gujarati style. India is so vast that here the music, cuisine, dressing etc change with every 100 km. It’s very true!!! Being a mistress of spices, India has her food to taste absolutely different with a couple of spices that changes its level in the food stuff, making the taste absolutely different and the cuisine to change completely all in a 100 km. That’s called Diversity. And being in India, it’s always Unity in Diversity.
The ceremony happened in the terrace, with the Father reading the Bible and pronouncing that they are engaged officially and would be soon together in the holy matrimony.
Unlike the formal party that happens in the European countries, here in the Indian subcontinent in both Hindu and Christian engagements, several goodies are kept in front of the couple, which are essentially delicacies of every type that too esp. sweet stuff ranging from sweet crackers (chikkis), fruits, chocolates, sugar etc. Also kept are several stuff which are considered holy or auspicious in the Indian culture like saffron, turmeric, jewellery esp. bangles, mirror etc. Right at the centre was a saree again with the engagement rings kept atop of it.
This is my best friend’s dad and the groom’s dad sitting opp. to each other and my friends dad promising his dad that his daughter would be his daughter-in-law since the wedding day. This promise is strengthened by the exchange of a tray called Thambalam which again has a set of Indian auspicious stuff like Bananas, Coconut coated with turmeric, Betals leaves, Betal nuts, Saffron, Turmeric, Sandal etc. and by applying sandal wood paste in each others hands.
Kids ahoy…. There were so many kids in the betrothal… I guess they all must have brought their kids deliberately to inspire my friend!!! What say!!! I know, when she reads this, she’ll kill me…!!! Lolz..!!!
Coming back to the engagement, after this exchange of Thambalam, the groom’s family gifts a saree to the bride. This is pretty much similar to the Hindu Weddings I’ve attended. The bride has to now go and change to the groom’s gifted attire. This is to denote that she can come to the groom’s place without taking any of her belongings from her home, not even the saree that she’s wearing, and the groom will take care of her completely here on. That’s the groom’s sis, gifting her the saree.
Now my gorgeous friend is draped in that Brown Saree in Navi Style (remember, her earlier drape was in Gujarathi style). Navi style is the new style which is not as age old as the other drapes. New in the sense, only a few centuries old!!! India, being an old, rather ancient country with languages like Tamil (The earliest written record of Tamil is more than 2000 years old. The manuscript called Tholkappiyam was a grammer book, which means the language must have been atleast a few thousand years older than that, that it has the grammer organized 2000 years ago. Amazing, isn’t it? This is the oldest language still surviving and has been recently awarded the classical language status. I am proud, that I know the language!!!), a few centuries old is like something too new!!!!!
That’s the exchange of rings and yeah, I could count the number of teeth in my friend’s mouth. She’s in all smiles!!!
That metal lamp in front of them is called the ‘Kuthuvilakku’. Its again a holy, auspicious light. Though candles are used by Indian Christians, a Kuthuvilakku is the one that is taken for special occasions like these. While in an Indian Hindu household, the Kuthuvilakku is a day to day lamp to be lighted in front of God. This burns with a wick of cotton with oil filled in the lamp.
That was a Indian Christian Engagement for you. Oops. I’d say it’s a Tamil Christian Engagement. Leave alone the northern part of India, Tamil Nadu’s own neighbour, Kerala’s Christian Weddings are very much different from the Tamil style!!!
They are soon to get married. I am rather our whole gang is just waiting desperately for the D Day to arrive. We are all excited so much. Wait n watch for her wedding coverage soon here in my blog.
P.S: CLICK here for my outfit at her betrothal.
Dedicated to Magi & Thomas. My heartiest wishes to their new life…