|Home | Issues | The Daily Star Home | Volume 3, Issue 18, Tuesday December 6, 2005|
world of weddings
So without going into further detail and telling you what you already know lets start with the things that we don't. When a man and woman of the Christian faith, want to get married the first thing that they do is of course convince their parents! After that is done though they need to go to church at least three weeks prior to the wedding date and register with the priest about their marriage. This process, which is called a “ban” is an integral part of the Christian faith and is followed all over the world including by the Bangladeshi Christians.
Why they do this is because, the priest shall then announce on every mass that this man and this woman are getting married and if anyone has any objections they have to come forward and talk to the priest. You know the drill- “ please step forward or forever hold your piece.” Stringent procedures!
The Bangladeshi-Christian wedding ceremony shows a distinct sub-continental flair. As far as dress requirements go there is no flowing wedding gown of your dreams, a sari usually suffices and the men usually stick to wearing suits. One part of the Christian theme that we so like, still remains as the veil retains itself and is a must accessory. As far as colour goes, the bride usually wears gold and white saris. There is no specific colour requirement set, but most families choose to avoid gold.
The wedding takes place understandably in the church and the priest has to wed the lucky twosome. The wedding ceremony follows the mass and the priest weds the two. There is no kissing of the bride here as such close physical contact is probably discouraged in society (read public) at times a little peck by some bold ones is all you see. However there is a lifting of the veil which is preceded by an exchange of the wedding vows and that usually brings an end to the ceremony as far as the church is concerned. And for all the expectant ones out there - No! There is no throwing of the bouquet to determine who it is who will get married next.
The wedding at the church is followed by a reception held in a community centre- another aspect borrowed from the sub continental perceptions of weddings. The food is much the same as a typical Bangladeshi wedding with biriyani and burhani on the list of items served. The only extra thing that they have is the wedding cake which is blessed by the priest.
There are other aspects that are seeping into the Christian weddings like the holud and such. But most of these rituals are completely cultural and are add-on's to the religious festivities mentioned in the Bible.
Even through all of this it's important to note that a Hindu marriage has a lot of religious implications and is an extremely religious affair.
There are a number of rituals that a Hindu marriage has. Organized chronologically they amount to the:
In regards to the celebration of the wedding, the Hindu celebration is originally the one that we usually see in weddings across the city in Bangladesh. It is an elaborate affair that requires a lot of effort most of which is expended by the females.
Of course, in an adapted ceremony like the ones here, great liberties can be taken with wardrobe. One rule which shouldn't be broken is that anyone who enters the mandap or wedding canopy must have on sandals or slip-on shoes which can be easily removed. In addition, it's a good idea to avoid much black.
One feature of the bride's wardrobe, which has become popular abroad, is the use of henna or mehendi to decorate her hands and feet. It's said that you can tell how well a new bride is being treated by her in-laws from how long it takes for the mehendi to wear off.
Finally, the traditional gift at an Indian/Hindu wedding is money. The amount should be an "auspicious" number ending in 1- so Tk.10,001 is better than Tk 10,000. Cash and check are usually all accepted!
By Quazi Zulquarnain Islam
| Issues | The Daily Star Home|
© 2003 The Daily Star