Cousin’s Lingayat Wedding

Satya’s cousin got married in India this past weekend.  It was a little bittersweet for him since he is happy his cousin is getting married, but sad he wasn’t able to attend.  Here are some things we found out:

-The festivities occurred over 3 days.  The dates are checked astrologically to make sure they are auspicious.  It is also important that parts of the ceremony are done at certain times, down to the minute.  Again, this is to make the ceremony is auspicious and the marriage begins on the right foot.

-Each of the three days Satya’s cousin got turmeric applied to his skin. 

-He wore different outfits for each day–one day in a suit, one day in a sherwani (the long-sleeved coats that end around a man’s knees), and the South Indian dyoti.

-3,000 people attended which is medium-sized.

-The cousin’s hand hurt after shaking so many hands.

-On the invitation, the women’s names go first.  This is a reverse of how it is in the U.S.  For formal occassions here, invitations are addressed Mr. and Mrs. Man’s first name Man’s last name.  There, the Mrs. goes first and her name is written out first and last and then her husband’s name is mentioned his first name and last name.  Is it the same in North India too?

-Brides are considered incarnations of Laxmi, the goddess of wealth, happiness, and health.

There was one tradition that puzzled both me and Satya…for some reason after the wedding his cousin was not allowed to return to his home.  This was a big deal because Satya’s sister took lots of pictures and so the two of them wanted to e-mail pictures.  They ended up going to a friend’s house, but the friend’s computer has a virus.  No fun. 

Another part that confused us was that Satya says that in his family it is tradition to set out a pole and bucket in front of the cousin’s house.  The pole is then set on fire.  I don’t know what happens with the bucket…in case the pole fire gets out of control??  Has anybody else heard of this tradition and/or know the reasoning behind it?  Maybe the pole is to tell time….after it is burnt the cousin can re-enter his family’s house?  Satya has no idea. 

Yes, the cousin did have a traditional arranged marriage.  It was a process that took a few years because sometimes a girl was found that his cousin liked and his parents did not or the his parents would like a girl and he didn’t.  They met each other in August and decided by early September that they would get married in late November.  Both are Lingayats and they are both professionals in their mid to late 20s.  It turned out that the bride was related to somebody in Satya’s old neighborhood so perhaps that is how they found each other.  No, there wasn’t a dowry because in general dowries make Lingayats uncomfortable.

Everything went well, from what Satya heard.  His sister is returning to the U.S. this week.  Someday I’d like to see a Lingayat wedding, but that will have to wait.

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Gori Girl
    Jan 11, 2009 @ 21:17:29

    Uh, I would hope that there wasn’t a dowry, given that dowries are illegal in India.

    Overall, it sounds like a pretty typical Indian wedding.

    No, I don’t think there was a dowry. Satya says that the dowry thing depends on the families and community. Just declaring dowries illegal doesn’t mean the practice has ended.

    Sometimes families are told to give their daughters “whatever they feel comfortable giving” by the new in laws. Other times it is much more overt and obvious. He has heard of women that have been killed because of insufficient dowries.

    I wish I could include pictures of the wedding. One tradition seems especially foreign to me and Satya wasn’t much help about it either–one of his male cousins had a string of onions around his neck and then had to carry a special tree from one house to another. Then, the tree was set down and the onion garland went from his neck to the tree. It looks like there was a lot of laughing and good natured teasing going on in those pictures.


  2. Gori Girl
    Jan 13, 2009 @ 03:22:16

    Well, of course it’s still done – but I would hope that your husband’s family doesn’t commit illegal activities, you know? Especially ones that are also (in this day & age, and in the context of a “modern”, educated Indian family) morally repugnant.


  3. Cute Boy
    Dec 30, 2011 @ 01:54:36

    I am curious to know how do they go about is proposing.. boy takes the lead or the girls parents .. ?

    The boy’s side proposes, I think.


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