|Female members of the group in their saris. Madame Sindhu and staff of |
VIIS who helped the ladies wrap their saris are included in the photo.
|Three male members of the group- in their Indian shirts!|
We had to look our best at the ceremony. The girls went out shopping for saris and bangles to match. We all got very glamorous, bright and beautiful saris. Mme Sindhu, Director of VIIS, arranged for a tailor to stitch our saris for us.
The marriage ceremony took place in a large auditorium in Mysore. We were welcomed by the family of the bride, who are relatives of Madame Sindhu. Before the beginning of the ceremony, we were served food on a plantain leaf. This is to ensure that marriage guests are well-fed and comfortable throughout the actual ceremony.
|Groom being led into the auditorium by family members.|
The groom sat on the stage, dressed in a gold suit and hat to match. His bride was brought to him, her face concealed with a white cloth. When the cloth is lowered is the first time the groom sees his beautiful bride. She was dressed in a very elegant sari and adorned with jewelry from head to toe. Henna was also painted on her hand- in the same pattern as the other female members of the bride’s family.
A priest guided the new couple through the completion of the marriage rituals. During this time, family, friends and well-wishers took turns to offer blessings to the couple. They sat across from each other with a coconut in hand. We had the opportunity to offer blessings too. The peak of the ceremony arrives when the groom puts a necklace on his bride’s neck, a symbol of their marriage. There is much variation among different families and castes in India, but at this marriage, the necklace is the equivalent of a ring in western culture. The drummers at the ceremony played their best rhythms at the loudest tempo and everyone roused in applause. The couple was married.
Afterwards, a performer, traditionally called “kashi” treated the guests to a spectacular performance. This was nerve-racking at times as he performed antics that seemed dangerous in an enclosed space. At a point, someone will throw coconuts in the air and the performer slashed it with his sword. He was able to burst most open in mid-air—only missing a few. He proceeded to do the same with limes- this time missing more than a few. In any case, it was fun to watch. The group even got a shot with him! After all of this was over, we were served lunch, with ice-cream for dessert. It was delicious and a fitting end to a day filled with much celebration.