Culture is a wonderful thing to have and believe in. For me, it is personal. It’s for me. Yet it is so expressive. And it varies so vastly between societies, religions and countries. For example, if there is a wedding taking place in a town in India, the entire town will know about it! There will be people dressed as band members playing instruments down the streets of this town. Notice the plaural in the word ‘streets’? That’s right, because it won’t just be on one street, it’ll be on almost all of them! There will be lights, and music and even fireworks. Not just in one place, no, but randomly wherever they feel like. There will be a procession, floats, people dancing, hired dancers, horses, horse carriages, elephants, loud music and an entire crowd of family and friends all following behind. You’d think this would be happening at the venue, but no, this is what happens on the way to the venue! So even if you’re not invited, and don’t even know the family of the bride or the groom, you’d still feel like you’ve attended the wedding because you’ve just seen it. Even if you don’t want to be a part of this wedding, there isn’t an option. You have already attended.
I mean don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad thing. Indian weddings are beautiful. The colours are extravagant and bold. The dresses with such exquisite detailing, in pretty patterns, in royal colours of reds and golds, which are usually the traditoinal colours for the bride. The beautiful and carefully designed henna pattern running up her arms and legs, for which she would have spent at least three hours preparing for, by sitting still as a few henna artists surround her and delicately create a rich, patterned design on her body. This is then kept on for hours, making sure she doesn’t move to smudge the design, or come in contact with any water, or anything that can ruin her chances of getting the darkest, richest colour. Decoration is so vital to every extent that even the horses have beautiful clothing. They’re decorated with rows of delicately hand sewn flowers, usually roses, placed in gentle scollops around the horse. And then the groom, in a colourful, sequence embroidered outfit, making him shine and stand out amongst the busy crowds. He’s dressed in the most traditional attire, reflecting his culture, and sometimes his religion, on his special day. Usually sat upon an animal, either a horse or an elephant, expressing his prestige manner and respect as he goes to meet his bride.
Then there’s where I live. In a small town in England. If there’s a wedding taking place here, you’d recognise it maybe only if you see and notice the wedding car. Or maybe if you’re driving or walking past a church where the bride and groom are having thier pictures taken, that too only on a nice day. Or maybe if you see some decorations referring to a wedding, on the outside of the couples’ wedding venue. Of course there is just as much planning going into this wedding. Of course there is just as much detail in this wedding. But do we as the public see this? Of course not. Unless you are a part of the wedding, or a guest, you as a general member of the public in your town or area would have never had known this wedding took place! That is because this wedding happened indoors, or at their private venue. It was held for themselves, their friends and family and their guests. It wasn’t broadcasted to the entire town. It was a closed event, an invitees only event. It was personal.
In both these meaningful and eventful weddings, tradition and culture would most certainly be present. Whichever way it’s done. If it’s tradition for the bride to wear white, in an Indian wedding rich, and royal colours are traditional. A ceremony may take place, whether this is reciting vows or performing a Vivaah Sanskar. What ever the ritual, how ever its done, the result is the same. A marriage is the outcom, our culture was the reason.
Please do comment on any interesting cultures you have or have heard about or seen. I’d love to know!
Thanks for reading 😊