Monday, January 21, 2008

Gai Holud
January 9, 2008

My friend Natasha took me to her cousin's gai holud tonight. A Bangladeshi Muslim wedding ceremony apparently has four parts: the bride's gai holud, the groom's gai holud, the wedding ceremony, and the reception.

The gai holuds are tumeric ceremonies. ("Holud" means "yellow".) The family decorates the groom (or the bride, I attended the groom's gai holud) with gold and silver for prosperity. Then guests come and put tumeric on the groom's forehead and feed him sweets so that his marriage will be healthy and happy. It is also traditional for guests to give the groom a small amount of money.

All of the guests traditionally wear yellow, though many people at this gai holud were wearing bright saris of other colors. It is more important to wear your best sari than to wear a yellow sari, so if guests don't have a very nice yellow sari, they wear something else. (Fortunately I have three fabulous yellow saris!)

Normally I believe that guests eat after the tumeric ceremony, but because there were so many people there, we ate in shifts during the ceremony.

Unfortunately I was not able to attend the actual wedding ceremony because of a previous commitment, but hopefully I will get to witness that part another time!

The reception is actually held a couple of days after the wedding. This is when guests greet the bride and groom as a married couple.

Here are some photos I took of the gai holud:

The Stage
This is the stage where the ceremony will be held.

Silver and Gold

The groom is decorated with silver and gold. Sometimes with actual jewelry (like the ring), sometimes with tinsel.

This guest is applying tumeric to the groom's forehead.

One of the guests feeding the groom sweets. He must get a stomach ache by the end of the night!

Very Serious
Before going to the actual gai holud, Natasha showed me pictures of her own gai holud. She wasn't smiling in any of the photographs. I asked her why and she said that it was a very serious ceremony. That the bride and groom are leaving their families, so why should they be happy?

The Guests
All of the guests watching the ceremony are dressed up in their best saris.

Me and Guests
Photo of me with several of the women in their pretty saris.


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