Sunday, June 16, 2013

I Thee Wed

A few weeks ago my husband and I attended a wedding--my friend's nephew's wedding, to be precise.  I was tasked with capturing all the important moments on video, so I don't have many pictures.

Bride and groom sitting at the altar
A. and K., the couple getting hitched, had been introduced through family while living in different countries (US and Canada). They talked over Skype and went through elaborate dating games to discover if they would make a good match. This is the typical Bhutanese Nepali courtship ritual nowadays. Not too different than before, just with Apple Facetime often replacing real face time throughout the diaspora. A. flew down from Canada for the wedding, and after a few days they flew back to Canada to start their new life together. 

The priests, guests of honor, and the altar
As members of the groom's party, we joined a caravan to the bride's house. We had to wait on the sidewalk at first until we were allowed to approach. This was the first of several stages in the ceremony. Others included both parents giving away the bride by pouring water over the couple's hands, the bride and groom circling the altar three times holding each end of a knotted rope, reading of vows and chants, and the groom putting the "potay" necklace on the bride. The symbolic necklace is always forest green (the color worn by married women) and is worn by married women at all times while their husband is alive, then destroyed upon his death. 

Part of the ceremony was conducted on the front porch
The longest part of the ceremony was the "receiving line" where all the guests approach the seated couple and put tikka on their forehead as a blessing. All the guests get tikka on their forehead, too, just not as much. I forgot to take mine off until we got home, so I probably surprised our Elmwood Village neighbors walking in from the car. I also wondered about the reactions of the bride's neighbors on the Westside (Hoyt St). On one side of the house the neighbors were chilling on their porch like this sort of thing happened every day, while across the street the whole family was peering out their front window through the curtains. 

Guests greeting the bride
We somehow managed to get away having only been fed enormous amounts of delicious Nepali food twice. I loved being able to participate in the ceremony and share in the joy of the couple and their family. I am so lucky to have friends who are not only jewels themselves, they also share experiences like this with me. I hadn't found an extended community for myself until I was unofficially adopted into the Nepali community here in Buffalo, where I feel right at home. 

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