I had the privilege of attending a friend’s engagement party this weekend, and never before had I encountered such a turn-out for an engagement gathering. The family had decided to observe the traditional cultural ceremonies and dress, so they began with a prayer for the groom’s family. From there, the in-laws engaged sweets in a symbolic meeting of friendship and the intended “sweetness” of their future contacts. Afterwards, the future bride, dressed in a beautiful blue beaded and sequined sari, participated in the foot-dipping ceremony, where she placed her foot on a platter of red ink, then left footprints on white paper. The concept was that she would bring good luck to the house, and her in-laws would keep her footprints with them as a remembrance of it. Next, bindi were applied, and the future bride received a red veil to symbolize romance. The ceremonies ended with a prayer. And while I didn’t understand all that was being said, I could still bow my head and offer positive thoughts towards the couple, and prayers to God to bless them. It was a truly resonant and beautiful moment.
I was also amazed by the generous amounts of food offered. There was an initial hors d’oeuvre course, a middling hors d’ouevres course (one which I took for the main course, but wasn’t), and a full-on main course with 6 different dishes and a cool yogurt. There were sprouted beans and yellowed potatoes; green cilantro and spiced potatoes; salad, sweet yogurt with something like bean paste pieces (mmmm!) and more. I absolutely relished the food and had to accept that it just wouldn’t all fit in my stomach. Ah well…I was glad to share the experience with friends:)