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Our Story – Groom side “Supari”- Part 44

This is a continuation of my previous posts. Please read the previous posts here.

As soon as the Janti left the wedding venue, it started raining. I was happy that we were so lucky that we were able to finish all the rituals without getting interrupted by the rain. It was important that there was no rain otherwise we all would have been soaking when my brother was taking me around the car. I was telling AS that the gods are crying with me as well because I was crying as it is such a sad day for my parents. I know that they are very happy that I got married but at the same sad that I will be a part of a new family from then on.

It was only a short drive to AS’s house from the venue so it was still raining very heavily when we reached there.

The wedding car stopped in front of the house where most of the groom’s family members had gathered. As it was raining, there were umbrellas everywhere. When we got off the car, one of AS’s brother and aunt came out with a big umbrella and escort us to the main door of AS’s house.Groom side Supari (1)

At the house my mother in law, along with other female members of the family, was at the door to welcome us in, which is called Vitryaune, a welcoming ceremony for the bride.

Groom side Supari (2)

They performed some Puja and put Tika on my and AS’s foreheads. It was followed by some more rituals as per the priest’s instructions.

Groom side Supari (3) Groom side Supari (4)

Aarati was done to keep away evil spirits and usher in good fortune. Then I entered the house holding one end of a special key (symbolising the key to the house) and the other side was held my AS’s eldest aunt. At this point the Groom has to hold the Bride’s shawl and follow her into the house. This is a tradition in Newari / Nepali wedding.

Groom side Supari (5) Groom side Supari (6)

At the main door, there were ten of AS’s cousin sisters standing blocking the door, with other family members watching. They demanded money before they would allow us to proceed into the house. Everyone was having a lot of fun haggling about the price of entry. They negotiated how much they wanted and this time AS had to shell out RS 10,000. Once they let us in, I continue following his aunt to the prayer room in the house. There we prayed for a while and left the key there.

Groom side Supari (7) Groom side Supari (8)

Now, we sat for the Supari ceremony. In this ceremony, AS would introduce me to his family members and I have to give them the Supari and touch their feet (if they are older than me). They would then give me money or jewellery as a welcome present.

Groom side Supari (10)

As AS has a big family, this ceremony took quite a while. It started with his grandma, parents, brothers then continued with his uncles, aunts and cousins. I got many types of jewellery from the family and money too.

Groom side Supari (9) Groom side Supari (11) Groom side Supari (12) Groom side Supari (13) Groom side Supari (14)

It was followed by some more ritual Puja and “Thaa Bu” eating as in the Kanyadan ritual.

Groom Side Supari (1)

Then we started the Sagun ceremony. Sagun typically consists of a boiled egg, smoked fish, a “bara” (deep-fried black lentil patties), “haku chhoila” (smoked buffalo meat) and “ayela” (wine) and ends with “dhau” (yogurt).

Groom Side Supari (4) Groom Side Supari (3) Groom Side Supari (2)

All the close member of groom’s family bring Sagun along with gifts for the newly wed. Sagun is also given to the groom’s parents.

Groom Side Supari (5) Groom Side Supari (6) Groom Side Supari (7) Groom Side Supari (8)

Finally, all the rituals were over and I was asked to go and rest in our room. I was really tired as the rituals has been going on for more than 12 hours by then but I knew that I could not sleep yet as there were a lot of relatives still upstairs. However, I was glad to be in our room anyway so I could stretch my legs and rest for a while.

Groom Side Supari (9)

When I entered our room, I was really happy as it was decorated with flowers everywhere. On the door, they had garlands of chrysanthemums, and on the walls, there were lots of roses. The Dressing table and the coffee tables were also decorated with flowers and there were lots of rose petals scattered on the bed.

Janti (3) Janti (4)

This was going to be our room for the rest of the time I would be in Nepal. Next is Groom side Reception and I will write about it in my next post.

Janti (1) Janti (5)Till then, take care.

M from nepaliaustralian

XOXO

P.S: Do not forget to vote your favorite blog . NEPALIAUSTRALIAN’s Blog Award 2014

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Our Story : “Janti” ceremony- Part 43

This is a continuation of my previous posts. Please read the previous posts here.

The morning of the Janti was the most emotional and chaotic day that I think I will ever face. The day was filled with tears, panic and more tears.

Janti is the groom’s wedding procession which goes form his house to the bride’s to bring the bride to the his house. The Janti consisting of the groom’s family members, relatives and friends, sets out for the bride’s home. The Janti is accompanied by a musical band, indulges in dance and merrymaking all along the way. This ceremony is a very joyous event for the groom’s family while it is a bit sad for the bride’s family as she will be leaving her house to start a new life with her husband.

As this ceremony was in the morning for us, I got up early and got ready for the day. I wore a red Dupatta Sari with a green border and a matching shawl around my arms and a red veil covering my head.

Janti (3) Janti (6)

I wore my jewellery including the Tilhari and Chura (bangles). My aunty and friends did my hair and make-up. Once everyone was ready, we went to the wedding venue.

Janti (2)

In the meantime, in AS’s home, they were getting ready as well and his family performed a Puja with the help of the priest to start the rituals.

Janti (7)Janti (10)Janti (11)

Then he asked for the blessing of his parents and left house in a decorated car with all his relatives following him and a band of colourfully dressed musicians, with drums and trumpets, in most cases performing very loud music.Janti (12)

Before AS left his home, two decorated gagree (pitchers) were placed on either side of the main door of the house in which AS put some coins, asking the blessing of the gods before he stepped out of the house.

Janti (13)

The procession moved along slowly around the area, a way of letting the community know that the person is getting married.

Janti (14)Janti (21)

Once the Janti arrived at the venue, AS and his family were welcomed by my dad and my family.

Janti (15) Janti (16)

He was offered a seat on a sofa waiting for me to arrive near the mandap where the wedding ritual would take place. His relatives were seated in the chairs nearby. They were served with cocktails and drinks.

Wedding CeremonyOne of my favourite traditions in weddings is that of “Jutta lukaune” or hiding the groom’s shoes. So the tradition starts when the groom sits for the puja, he takes off his shoes. At that point, the bride’s sisters/cousins/bridesmaids/friends steal the shoes and hide them. It is the job of groom’s brothers/cousins to not let the bride’s entourage to steal the shoes, and at the same time the bride’s side has to try their best to get the shoes and hide them. It is not about the money, but the fun that comes along with the tradition.

janti (1)

Before AS could sit in front of the mandap, he had to take off his shoes. I have lots of cousins, so as soon as AS was about to take off his shoe, they jumped in, trying to get his shoes. His brothers tried to make sure, my cousins didn’t get the shoes and there was a Tug of War. The poor shoe was damaged in the process but finally my cousins were able to get one of the shoes while the other was still with AS’s family. It was quite fun to watch.

janti (2)

Once the “war over the shoes” was over, AS sat down next to me.

Janti (19)

He was wearing a black suit with a traditional Nepali topi. I was happy looking at him through my veil that we are now goona be together forever. Everything we went through until that moment was worth it to see AS by my side with both our families so happy with our union.

Janti (8) Janti (9)

The Puja started with the same two priests as before. There was also one elder from each family (the eldest male of the family) sited next to the priests in front of the Mandap and the Puja went on for an hour. This process is called Kanyadaan where the bride is formally handed over to the groom by her father.

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Then it was followed by AS and me sharing food from one plate called “Thaa bu” which had eggs, yogurt, wine, fruits, Roti, meat, fish and much more.

Wedding Ceremony Wedding CeremonyJanti (4) Janti (5)

After that, the eldest from AS’s family, put Tuuti Bagi (Special marriage anklet which literally means a carriage for the feet) on both my feet indicating I am married into their family. This is a tradition in Newari / Nepali wedding.

Wedding Ceremony Janti (7)

Now came the hardest part. It was time to give Supari to each member of my close family and say my good byes. In turn, they would give me some gift or money and take Supari from me. I promised myself I would not cry when I left to go to AS’s house since I don’t want to start a chain reaction with everyone crying after I did. I had seen how much my aunt had cried at her wedding and how everyone in her family started crying too. Therefore, I was keeping strong. This process went for a while, as I had to give Supari to almost 40 people with my parents coming at the end, just before I left my parents’ house forever.

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When I was half way through giving Supari I heard my mum sobbing. I was teary-eyed but I hadn’t started crying yet. Hearing her sob, I couldn’t stop but sob. Ohoo it started the chain reaction as I had predicated and most of my cousins and aunts started sobbing. While I was giving Supari to my parents, both of them were crying. It was such an emotional moment. It was as if you were saying “I am leaving you guys”.

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And the band didn’t help any by playing the emotional song “Maitighar timro hoina...” which translate to, “The home of your birth is not yours anymore, you go to your husband’s house. Do still come and visit your parents sometime…” or something along those lines. Anyway, it took a few of my relatives to help my mum away from me. I couldn’t stop crying after that.

Wedding Ceremony

It was now time for me to leave my parents’ home and go to my husband’s. My brother carried me to the waiting car. He needed to go around the car 3 times before he could put me inside.

Wedding Ceremony Wedding Ceremony

In the meantime, there was a big negotiation going on for the shoe (which my cousins had taken) between AS and my cousins. I think he gave them RS 5000 and finally they gave him his shoe back.

Wedding Ceremony

Once, AS got his shoes back from my cousins, he joined me in the car but I was still sobbing. I hugged my dad, mum and brother before they closed the door of the car.

Janti (4)Red and gold cloth was put on the top of the car and everyone showered the car with rice, flowers and Sindoor. Inside, AS was consoling me as the band started up with the music and AS’s family said their good byes.

Wedding Ceremony

The car we were in was decorated with lots of flowers and with our initials at the back of the car.

Janti (4) Janti (5)

I was off to start my new life with my new family!

More on the wedding in the next post.

Take care,

M from nepaliaustralian

XOXO

P.S: Do not forget to vote your favorite blog . NEPALIAUSTRALIAN’s Blog Award 2014

Go to Part 44

Our Story : Bride side Reception ceremony- Part 42

This is a continuation of my previous posts. Please read the previous posts here.

My family had not had a chance to throw a big party for a while so this reception was more of a reason for my family to invite everyone to celebrate. In Nepal, you need to invite all your relatives, your neighbours and friends if anyone gets married. So to have close to 1000 guest is very normal. When we started the guest list, we thought it won’t be a lot but then we added up all the relatives and extended relatives, my parents’ friends, my friends, my brother’s friends and my uncles and aunts friends, the big number was inevitable. And this number didn’t include Groom and his family. They don’t attend this reception as, it is only for the Bride’s family. This is a tradition in Newari / Nepali wedding.

Wedding Ceremony

Surprisingly, the party venue was well equipped for more than 2000+ guests so it was not a problem at all.

In Nepali/Newari culture, you give all your close female relatives and friends Sari as wedding gift and they wear that at the reception. My mum usually gets at least a few from her relatives and friends each year. So this time it was our turn. Mum had already picked the red Sari and has ordered 60 of them. She picked the same Sari for everyone and had already given it to them.

Wedding Ceremony

For the reception, I was more relaxed than before. It was just a party with hundreds of people but all of them are my friends and relatives.

Wedding Ceremony

Like every bride, I wanted to look my best for the wedding and I am glad I was happy with the choices of clothes and accessories. My parents had gone well above and beyond my expectation and bought me so many sets of jewellery that I was lucky enough to be able to pick different ones for different functions.

Wedding Ceremony

I wore a marron lengha with bead and pearl work on it. It was expensive but I convinced myself that I get married once so it was all worth the money. I went to the beauty parlour again to do my hair and make-up. I wore golden shoes with flower and golden clutch (both gifts from my new MIL).

Wedding Ceremony

I was happy with the final outcome as the hairdresser followed my instruction so well and did the hair exactly the way I wanted it.

Wedding Ceremony

Once I was done at the beauty salon, I went home where the photographer was waiting for me. We had planned to take a few shots at home before going to the venue. I had photos at home with my parents, brother, sister in law and a few friends.

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Then we all headed toward the party venue.

Bride side reception (1) Wedding Ceremony

Guests were invited from 6pm. All our close relatives were there already when we arrived, woman and girls wearing red Saris given by mum. The stage was close to the main entrance and that is where I was going to stay for the rest of the night. I had my cousin and friends for company as guests started arriving.

Bride side reception (12)

Within an hour, the empty venue was filled with guests, some of whom I knew , some I have not seen for years and some I had never met. Some handed me flowers and others envelope with money. I greeted them, talked with them and made small conversation before they moved on to the hall to start the dinner and snacks.Wedding Ceremony

The party was in full swing and I could see everyone enjoying the evening. At one end of the hall, there was the cocktail area and on the other side, there was dinner area. There was loud music going on with DJ playing all types of music and many of the guests were on the dance floor.

Bride side reception (17) Wedding Ceremony Wedding Ceremony Wedding Ceremony

Guests as little as 1 year old and as old as 70 years old were rocking the dance floor. I couldn’t leave to join them on the dance floor yet as there were more guests coming. I was still busy greeting the guest and talking to them for next few hours.

Wedding Ceremony Wedding Ceremony

Looking around I was happy everyone seemed to be enjoying and eating. I had my friends from kindergarten to high school there. Most of them were there with their partners and kids. It was so nice to see all of them at my wedding after so many years. All of them made me feel like I never left Nepal and were so welcoming and nice.

Bride side reception (19) Wedding Ceremony Bride side reception (18)

After few more hours when guests stopped arriving, I was free to leave the stage and join my friends and family on the floor. I went to the dance floor and danced my heart away. It was so much fun and was on the dance floor for almost an hour. Everyone was dancing around me and I felt really happy.

Wedding CeremonyBride side reception (16)Bride side reception (15)

After 10 pm, guests started leaving slowly and it was time for the family to have dinner as well. When things were winding down, I felt really good and both my parents were so happy that things went without a hitch. I was so happy and relieved at the same time that I had no appetite at all. Still someone got me a plate of food and I have no recollection what I ate.

I was tired from getting up and sitting down constantly.

On top of that I had to have a big smile on my face all the time. Don’t get me wrong, I was very happy but constantly smiling was hurting my face.

Wedding Ceremony

To be quite honest, my wedding reception was by far the most fun party I had during the whole process. Everything I planned went well and it was pretty awesome.  Everything turned out exactly how I wanted it.  Everyone I cared about was there and I was so honoured to have so many friends and family there. My parents were extremely proud of the reception as everyone was raving about how much they enjoyed and they loved the food.

Bride side reception (13)

After it was all over, we went home and I couldn’t wait to go to bed. Every muscle in my body was tired. On top of that, next day was Janti so I would have to wake up early.

More on the wedding in the next post.

Take care,

M from nepaliaustralian

XOXO

P.S: Do not forget to vote your favorite blog . NEPALIAUSTRALIAN’s Blog Award 2014

Part 43

Our Story : “Swayamvar” ceremony- Part 41

This is a continuation of my previous posts. Please read the previous posts here.

Swayamvar ceremony is the main event for the whole wedding and it literally means ‘Choosing the Groom by the Bride’. In the past, the bride had the right to choose one among many suitors. Nowadays, in the majority of marriages, Swayamvar is just a ceremony followed by Janti in Newari / Nepali wedding. For us the Swayamvar ceremony and Janti ceremony took place in two different days.

The Sahit sent during the Supari ceremony has an auspicious time written for the Swayamvar ceremony. For us the date and time was 24 June at 9.00pm. Therefore, it was going to be an evening ceremony.

Swayambar (2)

For this ceremony, I wore a red Dupata (silk with sliver work) sari, Dupata shawl around my arms and Ghumto (net red shawl similar to a veil) to cover my head. I went to the beauty parlour for hair and make-up.

Swayambar (3)

Before 9.00pm, all my family and I arrived at the venue. Due to the monsoon season, it was raining heavily. Everyone told me that the rain was a good sign for weddings. Anyway, all of us were waiting for the groom and his family to arrive for the ceremony. When they arrived, I was asked to go to the room upstairs so the groom and family could be welcomed and when everything was ready, I was to enter the room where the mandap was set.

Wedding Ceremony

In this mean time, my dad and uncles welcomed the groom and his family. They put Tika on the groom’s forehead, garland around his neck and escorted him to the mandap room. Once everything was settled, my cousin asked me to come down. I had my veil to cover my face and I was looking down as I walked towards the mandap.

Swayambar (4)

When I saw AS , I was so happy. He was wearing a Daura-Suruwal, Nepali national costume in light grey colour with dark blue coat and Nepali Dhaka topi. I was asked to sit next to him and the ceremony began.

Swayambar (5)

There were two priests, one from my family and one from his. They both told us to do lots of things, like doing Puja and saying mantras in Sanskrit and we were meant to repeat it after them. Vedic hymns and prayers invoked the blessings of all Hindu gods and the support of every element under the sun that will have a role in the conjugal life of the couple. The five basic elements of earth, air, fire, water and sky are highlighted time and again.

Swayambar (7)

The Swayamvar ceremony continued with me circling AS thrice holding the Supari (from the Supari ceremony), Dubo ko mala (garland made out holy grass) and Ful ko mala (flower garland). Once I was done, I stood in front of him.

Wedding Ceremony

We exchanged Dubo ko mala and Ful ko mala.

Wedding Ceremony Wedding Ceremony

Then my aunt bought the tray with two traditionally dressed dolls (Bride and Groom) and all the jeweleries nicely displayed.

Wedding Ceremony Wedding Ceremony

Now AS put the diamond necklace and Tilahari around my neck and golden bangles on my hands. Then we exchanged rings. It was followed by me putting a gold chain around his neck and watch on his wrist.

Wedding Ceremony Wedding Ceremony Swayambar (16) Swayambar (17) Swayambar (18)

Then priest asked me to sit down for the most important Sindoor ceremony. My aunt put golden and red clothe around my face covering my eyes, holding it from the back. Then the priest instructed AS to take a pinch of Sindoor in between his ring finger and thumb. He had to put that first to his forehead and then put on my forehead. Wedding CeremonyHe had to then move it into my hair partition still touching the forehead.

Swayambar (20)

This step was repeated two more times and now I was officially married to be his wife. Wedding CeremonyI touched AS’s feet for his blessing as his wife, and he handed me the Supari.

Wedding Ceremony Wedding Ceremony Wedding Ceremony Wedding Ceremony

Under the Hindu (Newar) tradition the sindoor and tilahari are the signs of a married woman. Finally, the priests pronounced that AS and I are husband and wife. He explained that as his wife, it is his duty to protect me and to make me happy.

Swayambar (24)

Now the priest asked us to share yogurt from the plate. AS ate a spoonful and then hand it to me. I had one spoon too. It was a bit hard to eat when everyone is watching. After this, we bowed to all elder relatives to get their blessing.

Family photos followed the ceremony and yes a Bhoj (party) as well. Once the ceremony was over, everyone was relaxed and started enjoying the food and company.

Swayambar (25) Wedding Ceremony

AS and his family left after the ceremony and we went home as well. I was so tired after such a long day but I was a married woman that day. It felt good.

Wedding Ceremony

More on the wedding in the next post.

Take care,

M from nepaliaustralian

XOXO

P.S: Do not forget to vote your favorite blog . NEPALIAUSTRALIAN’s Blog Award 2014

Go to Part 42

Nwaran for my nephew

Baby BJ was 11 days old last Friday so we had a ceremony held for him called Nwaran.

The ceremony is also known as Machabu Byakegu in Newari. It takes place on the  11th day from birth. This ceremony is performed to give a birth name to a child according to his/her lunar horoscope, this is usually not the name by which he/she will be known. This ceremony is normally small and celebrated amongst close family.

We are lucky to have a friend who is also a priest. He gave us a list of things that are required for the day and everything was ready when he arrived at my brother’s place at 8.30 am.

The main ceremony was conducted in the balcony of my brother’s apartment.  Before the priest arrived we had cleaned and mopped the place. So, when he arrived, he started making a Mandap on the balcony. Once it was ready he asked my brother to come and join him for the Puja.

He had all his books of mantras and it took more than an hour for the first phase of the Puja to finish. It involved lots of mantra reciting from the books and lots of different Pujas to God, with candles on the Mandap.

Then he asked my Sister in law and Baby BJ to join the Puja. He chanted more mantras from the book. Then he asked my SIL to perform Puja to the sun. Then he put tika on Baby BJ’s forehead and gave him a piece of paper which had details required to make his Jaata (lunar horoscope chart). It will be done by my parents in Nepal.

Then we took little BJ for Surya Darshan, i.e. to let the sunray fall on him as a blessing. He was also given a holy cloth with his birth name written on it.

Then he put Tika on my brother, SIL and then the rest of us. He also put Janai (holy string) around our wrists.

After that all of us put Tika on baby BJ as our blessings.  Little BJ got lots of gifts from all of us, mainly clothes and toys.

After the Puja was concluded we had our morning brunch.

Nwaran and Pasni

As you must have noticed by now, Nepali people have lots of celebrations and functions. When a baby is born there are many celebrations as well.

The first ceremony is called Nwaran (analogous to baptism ceremony). It is also known as Machabu Byakegu in Newari. It takes place on the 11th day. This ceremony is performed to give a birth name to a child according to his/her lunar horoscope, this is usually not the name by which he/she will be known. This ceremony is normally small and celebrated amongst close family.

Then there is Pasni ceremony which is also known as rice feeding ceremony or Weaning Ceremony. This ceremony is also called Annaprashan which in Sanskrit term, literally means grain initiation. It is the first time the baby is fed solid food. It is called Macha Junko in Newari.

Pasni is normally held after 6 months from birth for a baby is boy while if it is a baby girl, it is held after the fifth or seventh month. The day and time will be fixed after consulting a priest/astrologer.

As I have attended a few Pasnis lately, I am sharing the photos and procedure of Pasni here.

The ceremony begins at home. On the morning of Pasni, the baby will be showered and wrapped in a towel for the ceremony to begin. The Fufu (Babies dad’s sister) of the baby will hold the baby during this ceremony. Normally Fufu and other women in the family wear red sari.

Special Pasni dress

kalli

The place where the ceremony is to be held is cleaned and all the required ritual puja plate and food are arranged. Then the elder lady of the family will start the puja with the help of the priest. The first step is to put tika on the forehead of the baby, then the baby is given a special outfit, usually made of red velvet and embroidered with silver and golden threads. Gold and silver ornaments are also given to the baby, like heavy silver anklets (kalli) carved with dragon at both the ends to keep the bad omens away from the baby as well as gold bracelet.

Once it is handed over, the baby is dressed in this special outfit and the ornaments and further ritual starts. First the baby is given dubo ko mala (a garland of holy grass). Then it is followed by puja and symbolic feeding of kheer (rice pudding) or the first bite of solid food. The baby is then offered all kinds of foods to taste from Thaa bu (a plate which has eggs, yogurt, wine, fruits, Roti, meat, fish) .

Thaa Bu

Baby will be also offered a tray of stuffs like books symbolising learning, jewels symbolising wealth, a pen symbolising wisdom, clay symbolising property, food items symbolising a love for food (There can be anything symbolising a career. A friend of mine had stethoscope symbolising a doctor) and it is believed that depending on what the baby pickes, it will determine his/her future career. Family and friends have a great time cheering the little one while he makes his choice.

Baby trying to pick a object during pasni ceremony

There are lots of food and gifts given to the child from his/her mother’s family. It will also include Sagun. Sagun typically consists of a boiled egg, smoked fish, a bara (pan-fried black lentil patties), haku chhoila (smoked buffalo meat) and aila (wine) and ends with dhau (yogurt). Also all the family and relatives bless the baby with gifts or money. It’s a beautiful and elaborate ritual.

Sagun

After that maternal uncle (mum’s brother) carries the baby to the nearest temple so the baby can get blessing from the gods. In front of the temple, the baby is fed with some Prasad (offerings) and this will conclude the ceremony.

It is an occasion for celebration, and family and friends are invited to attend. These days Pasni ceremonies in Kathmandu are very lavish and are held in party function rooms much like a wedding ceremony. The guests, numbering in their hundreds bring gifts for the child and party late into the night.