Rahul and Kanika's Wedding: Rites and Rituals

Weddings in India are a big event, and multi-billion dollar industry. They're a great excuse to wear fancy clothes and pretty jewelry . Luckily, there are still many features based on solemn (or silly) personal rituals, so Rahul and Kanika went along with most of them, like having Henna (mehndi) put on, something definitely more a woman's thing . Rahul, of course, refused to get on an equine beast when part of the baraat, or wedding procession. But, the Younger Tongia Generation did allow their wives to cover their faces as part of the traditional mark of respect (ghungat) . When the wedding party (groomís side) comes to the brideís, to take her away, the baraat is a long, noisy, drawn out affair. Rahul insisted on keeping it as simple as possible. One trick was to run behind schedule, with a fixed (evening/sunset) time for the actual wedding ritual. Rahul was accompanied by his Bindayak , a young, male member of the family, who perhaps signifies the continuation of generations through weddings. Just as the wedding was about to begin, Kanika received Rahul through the traditional Garlanding. This was the first of many instances of where fun, games, noise, and unrehearsedness are all part of Indian weddings. Rahulís friends lifted him up to make things a little harder for Kanika . It turns out, in the old days, the bride and group were often very young, so there were a lot of games devised to keep them interested in the rituals. These continue today, like when the brideís family tries to hide the groomís shoes (taken off when seated at the fire, or mandap), and then demands ransom for these .

The actual wedding was kept reasonably short, about an hour or so. We can see some of the events at the fire , such as Kanika's father giving the Bride away (kanyadaan) , as well as some oaths that were taken (didnít one of them say that Kanika has to obey EVERYTHING Rahul says?). One of the finales was the 7 circles, or fere, we took around the fire . Kanika led in 6 out of 7 of the fere (an indicator of things to come?). When the actual wedding ended, we went to the temple (nearby) for blessings, and then tried to hang around with our families , seeking their blessings (and food).

Of course, there are more photos of what goes on after the wedding.

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