Today July 5th 2014 marks six years since the day my husband and I signed the Nikahnama (marriage contract). As in Desi fanfare our wedding celebrations span a month of festivities while the official functions usually boil down to about 3 to 4 events with attendees ranging anywhere from 100 to 500 guests.
July 4th kick started event 1 with a Mehendi celebration filled with traditional décor of marigolds, a lineup of married women blessing the bride and groom to be with symbolic gestures of henna on the hand and feeding them a bite of traditional sweets.
The atmosphere is pulsing with song and dance, there is an infectious vibrancy spreading from the energetic moves of the youth to the middle aged aunties ready to do a thumka (hip thrust) to prove they have still got it! It is a fun filled evening of food and flare with the highlight of the night being the dance performances from both the bride and groom’s side. Friends and family have been practising choreographed moves inspired by Bollywood all month and tonight is their night to shine.
My husband showed his love for dance by leading the entire show from the boy’s side. But in a competitive move I had directed a little skit of my own with my brothers, cousins and friends proving their acting skills as they performed the story of how we met through a mash up of songs. It was an unforgettable night which I often recall as if it were yesterday.
The next day we celebrated the signing of the official marriage paperwork which legally bound us as husband and wife. The theme on this day was Persian, in honour of my mother’s roots. All dressed in white attire sitting on the floor under a drapery of white, a Sofreh was laid out before me. This is an elaborate spread of various items such as candles to symbolize light, decorated eggs, almonds, hazelnuts to symbolize fertility, the heavenly fruits such as pomegranates, apples, grapes, a prayer rug and sacred text to show the importance of prayer; coins to represent wealth and prosperity and a mirror of fate through which the groom sees his wife for the first time (after the contract is signed). Sugar cones are rubbed together on the drapery under which the bride and groom sit. This is to shower the couple with sweet blessings from already happily married women.
July 6th was the Rukhsati the event hosted from the bride’s side. Here the bride and groom are adorned in a regal fashion in luxurious traditional garb and sit on a stage for most of the evening as if royalty (seriously felt like that!) As dinner comes to a close the bride is ‘given’ away and takes her leave with her parent’s blessings to start her new life with her husband. Usually the Nikahnama is also signed at this event with all the guests bearing witness, but we chose to have a more intimate setting on the previous day. Because of this many celebrate this day as their anniversary. I like to think of it as having two anniversary dates; the one where we were married under the eyes of the law and the other the first night I actually ‘lived’ with my husband. Yes folks, this Ms. Desi is a traditionalist when it comes to core values- and also I’m a sucker for romance!
July 8th was the Valima reception which is the event hosted from the groom’s side to celebrate the newly married couple. Similar to the previous event, it is another night of stately dress, fabulous food and celebration.
Since I am visiting on this trip to Karachi, the city of my birth, my marriage and where I gave birth. Memories and stories from these significant events are so vivid and hence on this day of my anniversary I could not help but share this post with you all. Be prepared for more nostalgia coming your way!
Ironically my husband is currently flying back to Toronto today as he has to be back for work, so this post is dedicated to him.
Happy Anniversary my love! We blinked and 6 years passed! Memories of us meeting and falling in love are still fresh in my mind. Running with you at Zamzama Park again after so long reminded me we wouldn’t be where we are now without it; THE conspirator in bringing us together- long talks amidst long walks, hearts beating, intense running. A tip to young love birds: You know he is a keeper if you can run next to him and not feel conscious about your red sweaty face and he still thinks you’re a beauty! 😀 I am eternally grateful to God for bestowing His blessings on us, in helping us find a perfect companion in each other and letting us experience life with our most prized possession; our darling daughter. The spirit of the month of Ramazan flows even stronger as I get to spend it with family this year; thankful for all that we have and most importantly for the gift of time. Life is fast paced; it is transient and if there is one dua (prayer) I wish for all it is to unplug from their busy, mechanical routines from time to time and be present, be appreciative most importantly with their loved ones. Ameen (Amen).
Your darling wife
PS: Ever the superstitious, lots of MashAllah’s and knocking on wood please. Thank You!!