Adiba Khatun proceeds to the next stage in the wedding process.
Every married man and woman in South Asia will have taken part in four wedding ceremonies. It’s not that they have been married four times; but South Asian weddings entail four successive ceremonies. After Cinifan (Engagement), Number Two in the series is the Mehndi.
The Mehndi takes place almost always the day before the marriage ceremony and its purpose is to lessen the tension with a party for the bride and groom – their last family-based fling before they become a married couple. Not that they are in the same room: this is an event of two halves, with a separate party for the bride’s family and another for the groom’s.
The groom I have been following – let’s call him Mr M.M. – had his mehndi in a simple hall adorned with elegant decorations in the form of taals (trays), made in a variety of styles and materials.
The groom also had a beautiful fresh cream cake, a standard feature in South Asian weddings. All the members of the family took turns to sit down next to the groom, and take a sweet bite.
Of course, the day before the wedding day is nerve wracking for the groom so to offset this the mood was kept light and fun with plenty of banter. Some close family members even smeared some cream on the groom’s face.
The mehndi’s biggest feature however, would be the hired rickshaw. It provided cute and hilarious material for photos – definitely the highlight of the party.