Saturday, October 16, 2010

A Pakistani Saudi Arabia

I think it's hilarious that I had to come all the way to Saudi Arabia to get to see a Pakistani wedding!

Technically I didn't see the wedding itself, but just part of the event. The actual nuptials will happen in Pakistan in November. What I was invited to last night was the Pakistani equivalent of a bachelorette party. ...with no alcohol...or talk of sex....or men at all.

Essentially it was a party for the women in the bride's life. The bride is a fellow English teacher at the school and she is so much fun! It was funny because she was supposed to just sit in her "throne" at the front of the room and watch the proceedings, but she said she likes to dance too much, so she joined the crowd.

I'm getting ahead of myself.

I bought a traditional Indian/Pakistani outfit for the event because I wanted to fit in, and how many times will I get to wear an outfit like this?! I didn't have to wear traditional clothes, but I'm glad I went shopping because I would have stuck out like a sore thumb if I didn't.

Here's what my outfit looked like:

I bought it at the Lulu. That's a grocery store with a department store on the top floor.

A colleague of mine did the henna on the bride's hands and feet. It took 6 hours, but golly did it turn out beautifully.

After all the guests arrived, the music started. The family of the bride put a sheet on the ground and all her closest family and friends gathered in a circle and played a drum and sang songs in Urdu. I have no idea what the songs were about, but I was told that when the bridal shower is held in conjunction with the groom's party, the two families kind of "compete" against each other with the songs. I would have loved to have seen that!!

Then the dancing for everyone else began. I thought it was so funny that these women were so shy in a room full of other women. I was hoping it wasn't due to the fact that a strange American and a few Saudis were in the room.

The other English teachers didn't let that stop them, though! We let loose and had a great time!

After that, the bride's family members performed dances in her honor. It was so wonderful!

After all the dancing was over, the caterers (gasp! MEN!) brought the food and we had an amazing meal of traditional Pakistani dishes. Golly it was spicy, but sooo good! I didn't take any photos of it because I was hungry at the point that I was too busy stuffing my face to document the wonderfulness.

I hope I get to experience more weddings while we're here. That's one part of worldwide culture that I find so fascinating.

Vicariously yours,

1 comment:

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