April 19th, 2012 at 10:38 am
A few days ago, I had my first experience attending a traditional Hindu Bhutanese wedding. Matt and I had received a phone call about it when there was only an hour left in the marriage ceremonies, but we were still able to have a great experience interacting with their culture for that last hour of the wedding.
The groom was Ram Kumar Kadaria, a cousin of our friend Bhim, who you can see sitting down in the picture. They had been at the wife’s house in a separate neighborhood to perform the wedding.
The wedding is not actually all one ceremony; there are alternating ceremonial times between pronouncements of union and times for the the friends and family of the couple to give gifts and blessings to the family. The ceremonies are administrated by a Hindu priest and a lot of the ceremonies involves putting tikas on the foreheads of the couple and, I think, their family as well. By the time that all of their family and friends have placed tikas on their foreheads, the husband and wife look like they are flowers with a 3 inch diameter circle of beautiful red color on their forehead.
The crowd was very pleased to see us; I knew several faces in the crowd from my time in the apartment complex and Matt, my missionary friend, seemed to know every face. They fed us a full meal of rice, meat, pastries, and sugar balls along with an appearance of several Coca-Colas. While we filled ourselves, we made small talk while Matt introduced himself to a few of the adults and children whom he did not know.
While most of the crowd spoke Nepali, we were able to have insightful conversation with some of our friends who knew English very well and were able to explain to us different parts of the wedding processions.
All the women were in beautiful sakis and the room was full of colorful ribbons and pictures. The centerpiece of the room, in front of the husband and wife, had a oil lamp with a candle, two plates covered in tika (with which the blessings were placed upon their foreheads, and a bouquet of flowers. There were several children running around the room having fun, which is normal for almost all Nepali gatherings, regardless of formality. Two of them were striving for control of Matt’s IPhone because they wanted to play a driving game on it.
Once the ceremonies had concluded, we drove a family back to their apartments near where we live. The two kids who had been fighting over Matt’s phone were in the car of us, still negotiating their turns.
It was a wonderful time for us to catch up with several of our Hindu Bhutanese friends in a loving setting. We pray for God’s blessings on the new couple and their family and that their community would become connected with the love of Jesus Christ.
Simeon Snow, A Go Now Missions Missionary