Saturday, October 16, 2010

A Wedding

I just saw these pictures of one of my best friends growing up. I can’t tell you how many memories she is a part of. We haven’t kept in touch for years. I got her wedding invitation about a month ago and then a friend (Hannah Zellmer) of my sister Ruthie sent these pictures to WMPL. She is there at LAMB Hospital and my friends mom is working for her.
I was so excited to see the pictures. I am so sad that I wasn’t able to be there in person but I feel like I got to see a little piece of her day.
Isn’t she beautiful?
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This is Priti (my friend) in the front, her sister Sriti, and their mother, Rani. This is the traditional sunum sasan (oil and tumeric) the night before. The bride and attendant (always the younger sister) are annointed with oil and tumeric to lighten the skin. Usually the mother and father are also annointed. In this picture I think she is getting ready to feed her girls a misti (sweet). Weddings are so much fun there!
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It is also traditional for the bride to wash the feet of her guests. Notice, she is getting paid. When the person getting their feet washed is related in a certain way she is allowed to grab the ankle (they call it getting “crabbed”) and not let go until she (the crab) is paid. I have seen people give anything from cash to a calf. She will usually have an attendant with her that knows what that person is willing to go up to that tells her how long to hold on. They will always start very low. Kind of like an auction.
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Doing the traditional Santal dancing. It is always a lot of fun! Everyone has a lot of rhythm, there is a lot of hip action and there are always a lot of laughs. The elderly ladies were always able to dance longer than anyone else.
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Serving people at the wedding feast. Everyone is expected to eat until they explode!
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The receiving line. It is done a little differently there. The guests all stand in a line and the bride, groom and attendant go down the line. The traditional greetings are: if you are younger than the person in the line you bow, if you are older you accept their bow. So, imagine walking down a line of a few hundred people and bowing to all of them on your wedding day. How would you be feeling by the end?
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Gift giving. Usually the bride and groom don’t open the gifts. There is someone that does it for them.
I am so happy for her! Looking at all the pictures really made me miss life there. It is so different and yet so familiar at the same time. Hopefully someday I will be able to take my family there to see everyone and everything. I don’t think about what a big part of my life it is on a normal basis but when I do see something or hear something from there it really takes me back.

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