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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Saying “Will you marry me?” in Indian style

Today my family and I have attended an engagement (it is called “betrothal” here) of a relative boy and it was an experience that I never had before. All that I am used to is where a boy courts a girl for some time and when he is comfortable enough with the girl he finds the most surprising way to ask her to marry him.

Timing for the betrothal was at 6:30 PM. It is a Christian ceremony so it was presided over by a pastor. On the stage there were three sets of chairs. In the middle, there were several chairs for the religious heads and on each side of them were two nice looking chairs meant for the girl and the boy.

As soon as the religious heads came up on to the stage, girl and the boy were asked to come forward to take their seats who were ushered by their parents. Then there were 21 plates of gifts (ton of fruits of all kinds, dried coconuts, dry nuts, all kinds of flowers, sandal wood, jewelry, make up set, a brand new beautiful saree with a blouse, yummy sweets, and beetle nut leaves etc) brought in by 21 beautifully dressed women (my wife was included).

After a short religious function (message by the pastor and a prayer), pastor asked for the reason for all the gifts being brought and one member of the boy’s family (not the parents) stood up and stated in the microphone that they have brought these to ask for the girl’s hand in marriage for groom to be. Then the religious head asked both sides of the parents if that’s what they've come for and both sides stated “yes”. Then he turned to the boy and the girl and asked if they are consenting for this alliance and they both said “yes” looking at each other with grin on their faces.

Then the pastor handed over the beautiful saree to the boy to hand it over to his bride to be. She supposed to change in to this saree and wear the jewelry and come back to the stage to express her acceptance. Everyone was eagerly waiting to see her and as soon as she appeared she looked even more beautiful than before. Then they exchanged rings and flower garlands as a symbol of promise to marry each other.

Probably there were about 200 people (friends and family) for whom a feast was prepared by the girl’s family. Then guests met the girl and the boy to congratulate them.

If you’re wondering about my betrothal, we were little impatient then so we said “pass”. My bride of 15 years looked ever so beautiful today so I told her that she was looking nice and she acted like she didn’t hear me but then after a second she asked if I said something? With a grin I told her “You heard me” for which she replied “I wanted to hear again” so I did.

When I finished writing this blog, my wife added a snippet by saying that in some cases engagements do take place in absentia if the boy and the girl are living in too far away places and cannot attend in person.

First image below is the stage where there are three sets of seats.  Nice looking chairs on both ends are meant for the boy and the girl.  Second image below is showing all the gifts boy's family brought to ask the girl's hand in a marriage. Click on the images to see the details.





1 comment:

Kristi W. said...

Ruby,
Thanks for your nice comment on my blog! We are so blessed that Shaili's eye surgery was a success.

Would you be willing to e-mail me? I have a question I wanted to ask you. My address is: kristiwerre@yahoo.com

Thank you!
Kristi Werre