Sunday, January 13, 2008
A Modhupur Wedding
So I went to a Christian, village wedding. It seems like every event I go to is in a tribal village, which is a blast! This was my first Christian wedding in Bangladesh, and an interesting one is was. To start, we had to get to the village, riding on the back of a motorcycle across a bombed out field (used as a practice bombing range by the Bangladesh Airforce) then on to the bride's home we went, just in time to follow the procession of drum-wielding youth down the long path to the groom's home. This is one of the cultural traditions here. The groom's family and friends come to the bride's home for a party before bringing her back to the groom's home for another party. A symbolic parting of families, in a culture where family is vital. The party at the groom's home. The groom Linkon, my friend's cousin, and his bride-to-be began the festivities with traditional Mandi dancing, in a circle, and the festivities lasted long into the night.
After crashing past 2am I rose the next morning to a plate full of rice and pork fat in a curry (they call it pork). Following breakfast we watched the preparation of the wedding feast. The pigs and chickens had to be prepared, as did the curries and the rice, a feast for all the villages around, numbering almost 1000 people. The wedding was a fairly typical affair, typical that is for Bangladesh. Neither the bride nor the groom ever looked up at the guests, the only physical contact included holding hands to exchange wedding bands and the only speaking was the repetition of the vows. Besides the upholding of these cultural norms, the ceremony was quite typical, despite being outside surrounded by the mud walls of the family home.
Following the ceremony was the meal. A huge meal of pork and chicken curries with rice. As per usual, the only "vegetable" was potatoes and even that I had to ask for because I had not eaten a vegetable since early the last day. Because of their special status guests are served meat as it is expensive and a privilege to eat. Despite the fact that I would much prefer lots of vegetables with a little meat to the meat extravaganza I ate. After the meal, gifts were given to the guests and each received pan (a common chewed leaf like chewing tobacco). After the gifts were given we departed, having thoroughly enjoyed my first Modhupur Wedding.