Concluding her series on South Asian weddings, Adiba Khatun winds up with walima, where the protracted ceremonials finally come to an end.
Walima is an Arabic term used for a postwedding celebration. This Islamic tradition has both families gather once again as the groom’s side provides a delicious meal to share. It takes place either on the wedding day – but only after the couple are officially married; or a few days after the wedding day itself.
For our newly married couple, Mr M.M. and Mrs L.M., the walima took place a week after the wedding day, in a banqueting hall in London where there was a turnout of over 200 people. In Islamic tradition, the actual wedding or nikah is the smaller of the two events. The walima is where the big celebration takes place.
As everyone sat down to eat lunch, we were served the typical but quite delectable Indian cuisine, starting with paneer, samosas and kebabs; followed by rice and curry, and a simple ice cream and halva dessert.
After the meal is when the newly married couple enter; presumably by now the bride has learned to cook a meal for her husband!
Though it was a one of the shorter ceremonials, this was perhaps the most enjoyable. The walima is where the largest numbers are invited, as tradition would have it, allowing everyone to have fun catching up with old friends and relatives.