Monday, July 17, 2006

Sindhi Wedding – Day 2 (Morning)

The second day at the resort was actually the fist official day of the wedding. We opened this with a very typical Sindhi ritual called a BHERANO. I have seen this ceremony performed at other occasions such as birthdays and anniversaries so I am quite sure it is not limited to weddings. The ceremony took place in a small hall in the hotel itself. They set up a small area at the front of the room with musical instruments and pictures of the Sindhi god JHULELAL.

Off to the side, this fellow was kneading dough quite aggressively. I believe he was making a bowl that would be used in the offerings of fruits and flowers to the gods. It’s pretty sad that I do not really know much about all the traditions so a lot of this is based on my assumptions.

The offerings are then all placed around the head honcho who initiates the prayers. This guy however is not the guru who performs the marriage ceremony and other rituals. I believe he is just a Sindhi guy who is here to guide the ritual and sing songs.

There are some ceremonies in the Sindhi wedding that are only open to the boy’s side or the girl’s side of the family. The BHERANO is open to both sides and being the first occasion, it is a good time to get to know the other guests at the wedding. With weddings such as this one there are guests in attendance from all over the world and one can usually catch up with some pretty old friends as well. There is no booze served at this occasion either which can be a good thing when you are choosing your target for the next few days. Indian weddings are apparently a great place to hook up. Personally I yet have to experience it.

I guess the BHERANO also doubles off as an engagement ceremony. The bride and groom exchanged rings here. Once again I think this is a typically Sindhi thing to do. As if Indian weddings are not complex enough, we have to add on a few extra rituals where we can exchange jewelry and eat together.

Honestly though, this was a pretty fun occasion. After the rings are exchanged the entertainers break into enthusiastic drum beats and traditional Sindhi folk songs. The whole family is drawn into the dance and the festive vibes are brought into full swing. The guests and family usually make small cash offerings to the band after twirling the notes over the heads of the bride and groom. This is a kind of blessing. The band will keep playing as long as they get offerings and people will keep making offering as long as the band keeps them pumped. After an hour or 2 this can become a pretty agonizing cycle.

Once things die down we all eat lunch together and usually retire for the afternoon and make preparations for the remaining occasions.

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