San Jose Indian Wedding
“I didn’t go to business school for this!” the groom’s sister joked as she and six others attempted to embroider designs into scarves for the bride and groom. This was just after they had “ground wheat” together, as directed by the pandit at this San Jose Indian wedding.
The sewing and (symbolic) wheat grinding were integral parts to Anjali and Raji’s Haldi ceremony. The Haldi, along with the Mehndi and Sangeet, took place at the Hayes Mansion in San Jose. On the fourth day, Anjali and Raji married at MOHI Wines in Morgan Hill. It all made me think about these ancient traditions. It made me wonder why the younger generations still adhere to them, even when they feel outdated. Indian-Americans aren’t getting married in villages where the women do all the sewing and cooking. They’re getting married in big cities where both the bride and groom have successful, high-level careers.
Indian Wedding Traditions
I personally love Indian weddings. I love the traditions, the meaning behind each part of the many ceremonies, the respect and honor given to parents, and the sheer beauty of it all. But for modern, young, Indian-Americans, it’s interesting to witness the dichotomy of the old and new. Even though they might laugh, and not fully understand, the women happily participate in these ancient traditions, as do the men. Raji admitted he had no idea what was happening in the first ceremony of this four-day wedding.
Indian wedding traditions are also just a lot of fun, which I imagine is a big part of the draw. In fact, we experienced a tradition that was new to us, despite photographing many Indian weddings over the years: aggressively ripping the clothes off the groom after the tumeric paste is applied to his face and body. It’s symbolic for stripping away the groom’s single life and warding off bad luck. But the guys just had fun with it of course.
Celebrating the Old and New
Anjali and Raji’s San Jose wedding, with pre-wedding events at the Hayes Mansion and wedding day at MOHI Wines in Morgan Hill, was four days of celebrating the old and new. Old traditions kept alive by the new, modern generation. An old friendship, formed when Anjali and Raji were just kids at a summer camp, born anew when they crossed paths again as adults living in the Bay Area.
This entire event was full of beauty, emotion, tradition, revelry and a romantic chemistry between Anjali and Raji that served as a constant reminder of why we were all there, and why this was so important. The ceremonies are long and the people present (including the bride and groom) don’t always understand what it all means. But the overall symbolism of Indian wedding traditions is what really matters. It’s all about love and family – honoring those who came before, those who made you who you are today, and creating a beautiful life for those who are yet to be born. The old and the new, the before and after, all working together to make the wonder that is now.