Post Tagged with "weddings"

Why it’s a big deal to see a female nadaswaram player

In South India, any wedding is incomplete without the sound of the Nadaswaram – one of the most popular wind instruments in southern India. Counted among the ‘mangala vadhyam’, or auspicious instruments, the Nadaswaram is the world’s loudest non-brass acoustic instrument (according to Wikipedia).

For centuries, the auspicious moment at weddings and other such occasions have been heralded by the sound of the nadaswaram and its accompanying percussion instruments, all played by men in spotless white dhotis and angavastrams. What a surprise it was, therefore, to see, at a recent wedding I attended, a woman playing the nadaswaram!

A female nadaswaram player is an unusual sight in India

Draped in a simple saree, she held the nadaswaram to her lips, and out came the music we have been so used to hearing. We wouldn’t even have noticed the player, so used are we to the music, if it hadn’t been for her.

A woman playing the instrument might not seem like such a big deal in this time and age, but in a patriarchal society, to play an instrument which has been the prerogative of men for ages, is indeed a big deal. It is the sort of thing that reinforces my belief in tradition, and gives some hope to our culture, that it too shall survive the passage of time and change.

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June 26, 2013 Comments disabled

Traditional and modern: two Kyrgyz weddings

In Kyrgyz culture marriage is one of the most important decisions and acts of person’s life. Family definitely stands among highest priorities of Kyrgyz people and marriages are meant to last for a lifetime. Therefore the wedding is very important not only for the bride and groom, but for their extended family and friends.

Kyrgyz weddings incorporate rituals, some of which often controversial. For example it is quite common to marry in a white “western style” gown, but along the “western” style wedding it’s mandatory to conduct the ritual of nikkah, the muslim traditional ritual of marriage. In other words, just like Kyrgyz culture, Kyrgyz weddings represent mix of traditions and cultures, which are cherished and influential in Kyrgyzstan.

Bakytbek Tokubek uulu and Meerim Avtandil kyzy

To get a clearer picture of what a Kyrgyz wedding looks like, I have decided to describe two real weddings, one done in modern “western” style and another in “traditional” Kyrgyz style.


August 3, 2011 5 comments

A Tamil Brahmin Wedding from India

A wedding is the binding of two hearts… preparation for a life to be spent together. An Indian wedding not just binds the bride and the groom, but two families, in a union which lasts forever! All over India, irrespective of region, caste or language, a wedding is a reason to rejoice, and it is a boisterous occasion filled with pomp and splendor, rituals and traditions, and of course, a huge number of people!

While some basic traditions are the same all over the country, there are a lot of differences in the way marriages are conducted in the northern and southern parts. In the south itself, there are subtle differences in the marriages conducted among the four southern states, differences emanating from cultural as well as regional differences. Let me describe to you a typical Tamil Brahmin marriage, celebrated in the Vedic style, where importance is given to the traditions and rituals which have been passed on over centuries.


March 3, 2011 10 comments

An Okinawan Wedding

Okinawa is a chain of islands forming Japan’s southernmost Prefecture. The islands were once an independent nation known as the Ryukyu Kingdom. Some traditions and cultural events seen in Okinawa would seem foreign, even to other citizens of Japan. The Okinawan Wedding is one of them.

This Photo Essay shows some of the events that take place during the typical Ryukyu Wedding. Not shown are the 300-500 guests filling the Wedding Hall. They are seated at tables drinking and dining.

The Typical Ryukyu Wedding

Imagine a formal marriage ceremony, in any western country, being conducted at the wedding reception. Then, add a dinner theater with floor shows, dancers and live bands and keep it lively for a few hours.

The performers, on stage, have rehearsed for months. They are all friends, family, classmates, neighbors or coworkers of the bride and groom. They are good. They could be part of a Las Vegas production.

Each photo in this essay includes the time it was taken. This should give you a sense of timing and what takes place, as the bride and groom go through more than a few changes of attire during the conduct of an Okinawan Wedding Ceremony.

Okinawan Wedding Attire


March 2, 2011 18 comments

A Costa Rican Wedding

Getting married is a very important social event in Costa Rica, as it symbolizes a new stage in life. A tradition still practiced today is the “serenata”, which usually takes place some days before the wedding ceremony. The groom arrives at his girlfriend’s house, by surprise, with his friends and a group of musicians who sing traditional romantic songs while the bride, her family and friends listen to it inside the house for some minutes before going out. In addition, it is customary for the groom to bring some roses for the bride.

Wedding bouquet
The Wedding Bouquet (Photo by Laura Pardo)


March 1, 2011 12 comments

Picture Postcards: Just Married Decorated Cars

Have you ever wondered how many countries include decorating their cars as a part of the wedding ritual? Do people do this in your country? Here is a photo of a car from Turkey by Liz at Pocketcultures and one from Kyrgyzstan from the Sons of Hedin website.

'Just Married' in Turkey by Liz at Pocketcultures


February 28, 2011 Comments disabled