Saris, silk and ceremony

Went to my first Sikh wedding – my cubicle neighbour R got married, after a romance that likely involved all the dimensions of a Bollywood movie, particularly with the glamorous ending.

Another co-worker, KB, ventured with me to Abbotsford for the ladies party on Wednesday and the actual marriage today. KB is a city girl and views any place east of Boundary Road to be unacceptably rural, so this was quite an adventure. (She asked me once, when I described making blackberry wine, how I KNEW which ones were blackberries and therefore safe to eat. To give her the benefit of the doubt, she’s Greek and can probably tell a grape from a fig.)
KB’s wardrobe extends to ANY occasion, so she pulled out a sequined number. My wardrobe tends to be a bit light in the glitter and glamour department but I think I presented myself well in a draped fuschia top.
As you can see from the photo, we were nevertheless somewhat outshined by R, who recently flew to India to outfit herself for the week of festivities. All except the Jimmy Choo’s, which were bought in Seattle.

Looking at the feet got to be quite fascinating. Some variations on the tight-legged pants were very stylish..

The women were friendly and welcoming. The only men present were a few of the bride’s close relatives, and some junior members of the family. The evening was very gracious, with delicious food, gorgeous saris, and traditional dancing.
We left before the smearing of the bride with cleansing mud. (Never fear – she changed her clothes first.) It was a long and AWFUL drive home – dark, rainy, through freeway construction zones, poorly-marked lanes, and more mud that R had to deal with – but we made it without incident.
Saturday morning arrived and I picked KB up at the end of the line – in the midst of darkest Car-Theft-Capital-of-Canada. She looked pretty scary, don’t you think? Meanwhile I looked very suburban matron, at best, having exhausted my glamour dose for the week, with the fuschia top a few days before.
Off to Abbotsford, KB not happy because I chose not to follow Mr. Google’s directions. Arrived in perfect time after only one stop for further directions by a very articulate gas station attendant.
Inside the temple, we doffed shoes and donned head scarves, as instructed.
Made our way to the BRIDE’S ROOM. Inside there was a gaggle of women in bright colours, and an extremely composed and dignified bride. I have to say that the photo does not do justice to the bride or the dress. R looked quite stunning, although she remained seated and so dignified that I suspect she actually couldn’t move because of the weight of gold jewelry, metallic jewel-encrusted fabric, bangles and dangling gold things, heavy eyelashes, and layers of embroidered silk.
After some breakfast in the temple dining hall we went upstairs and slipped off to the side where women were seated. We shortly realized that we had neglected to walk up the centre to bow and offer a small donation to the temple. I was glad we didn’t realize at the time that we were violating protocol, because there was NO WAY I would have walked up the centre and bowed at the front while everyone watched me do it wrong!
Above, you can see the general scene before the ceremony started. During the ceremony we were flummoxed a couple of times when everyone had been standing and then lowered themselves to the floor. We awkwardly moved to cross-legged positions but quickly realized that everyone else had just bowed down and promptly stood up again (hard to tell because we were looking down to arrange ourselves). Well, the next time we knew to watch very carefully and not be fooled into a sitdown until we were sure the others were staying down.
After the ceremony was finished, the bride and groom stayed seated while the guests lined up behind, to approach them, give a small gift, and get pictures taken. Here we are…

2 thoughts on “Saris, silk and ceremony

  1. Pingback: Book: Sideways on a Scooter, by Miranda Kennedy | Seeing Clarely

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