A Gujarati wedding usually has several small ceremonies in the days leading up to the main wedding day. Neem and Ollie had opted for a truncated version but still plenty to be part of.
Thursday started with Ganspathy Sthapon, signalling the start of the wedding celebrations. This was a small family celebration before we arrived. The priest invoked Ganesh, the god who removes difficulties. He is called upon before undertaking a new venture including marriage.
Mehendi ceremony was next, this lays the foundations for the main ceremony of marriage. 5 goddesses are invoked to bless the couple.
Surya, the sun god – the life giver has 2 wives which are called upon to give energy, light and continuing generations. This ceremony was fascinating and, myself, the Irish and American girls were asked to be involved. We made up the 14 girls who are considered a source of energy. We had our right toe washed by Neem’s mum and rice placed on our toe, plus a bindi each. Next was to share our food with Neem, a cake and rice pudding- we had to eat all of it! This was a struggle for many of us. Lots of water was consumed quickly afterwards. We were given lovely bags with a betel but, bindi, bangle and money.
This was followed by singing hymns, wedding songs and lots of Bollywood style dancing. So much fun, the Indians can bust the moves.
The dancing worked up an appetite, we were served a huge lunch of local food- yum.
Bellies full it was time for the henna painting, our biggest decision was to have full or half hand. Since I have no job to go back to I went for the full works. 2 full hands. This was all done free hand through a little pipping cone. Not to be out done John and Joey had to request Henna too.
The event we had all been waiting for was next…covering the bride and groom in turmeric paste. Poor Ollie took a beating from the lads. John managed to draw blood from a well timed southpaw jab but no one noticed til later as Ollie was covered in colour.
An amazing day followed by a cocktail party in Bora Bora. Never give the Irish and Indians a free bar…carnage… Limboing
under drinking straws.