Mehndi or Henna Party

May 23rd, 2014 @ 7:00PM

Akbar Restaurant
21 Courtland St
Edison, New Jersey 08837

See the website for directions and further information:

What is the Mehndi ( or Rasm-e-henna ceremony)? This event consists of bright colors, Henna, choreographed dancing and lots of sweets for the bride and groom. The Mehndi typically takes place one or two days prior to the main wedding day. The dulhan's (bride) side usually throws this bash, and they are usually waiting at the entrance to the hall or house with rose petals and garlands, ready to shower the dulha's (groom's) side with them once they arrive. When the dulha's side does arrive, the whole family usually gathers in front, with the sisters and little kids holding trays full of the actual mehndi, or henna, after which the event is named. The henna is usually decorated with all sorts of candles and flowers, and eventually it is placed in an intricate design onto the dulhan's hands and feet. Typically, the dulha's family enters into the hall, followed by loud drums banging as they escort him in with much pomp and fanfare. After the dulha makes his way into the hall, he awaits the arrival of the dulhan. The dulhan is brought in by her family and friends and is seated next to the dulha. Married guests will feed the happy couple sweets and bless them. Sadka (warding off evil) is performed on the bride, for example, circling money three times around the bride's head and then donating it to the poor. Shortly thereafter, the fun begins - the couple's siblings, cousins, or friends have been preparing synchronized dances for weeks on end to be performed at this moment. The skill of these dances varies greatly - some people are dancing for the first time, while others are seasoned pros - but whatever the case, everyone dances for the love of the dulhan or dulha. After all the prepared entertainment, there is usually a full dance party, with all members of both families getting up and shaking it a bit. Many times the dulha and dulhan's respective sides dance one after the other, almost in a competitive way. Everyone is brightly dressed and the whole event is quite a sight to see!

Wedding Reception

May 25th, 2014

The Mansion
3000 Main Street
Voorhees Township, New Jersey 08043

See the website for directions and further information:

Baraat is procession of family, relatives, and friends of dulha that accompany the dulah to dulhan's home or wedding venue for the official wedding ceremony. Traditionally, the dulha makes his way to the dulhan's home on a richly decked horse or in a car and "baraat" follows singing and dancing. The dulha is given warm welcome by the dulhan's family with flower garlands and rose petals.

Jootha Chupai (Hide the Shoes) is a tradition where the dulhan's siblings, friends, or cousins find an opportunity to steal the dulha's shoes. They seize the shoes of the dulha and hide them. After the shoes have been hidden, the dulhan's side demands a ransom amount to give the shoes back. Only when the demands have been met the shoes are returned. With this game the families get together to watch the fun. A large, boisterous negotiation ensues, with cousins from both sides throwing out figures at each other and cracking jokes at the cheapness of the dulha. Since this tradition is well known, the dulah usually has a wad of cash on him, and it is up to the girl's cousins and siblings to get it all. This tradition is all in good fun and can live with the dulha for the rest of his life, so it's important for him to give an honorable amount.

Ruksati is the ceremony to bid farewell to the dulhan before her departure to the groom's house. She says goodbye to her parents, close friends and family. This is a very sad moment, and usually there is much crying amongst the women of the dulhan's side. A brother of the dulhan holds a Quran over her head the whole way from the stage to the car to ensure she has good blessings. Back in the motherland, the dulhan is on her way to the dulha's house where several traditional games are played at groom's house. A tray full of a mixture of water and milk is placed before the couple and a ring is thrown into the mixture and husband and wife are asked to find the ring. The one who finds the ring is considered winner and dominant partner in the relationship. Dulhan and dulah eats kheer (sweet, pudding-type desert) out of the each other's hands. Groom washes the feet of the dulhan in a basin of water that is sprinkled into the four corners of the house. It's believed that this brings wealth, prosperity and luck into the home. The dulha's sisters or female cousins then take the dulhan into her new bedroom to prepare her for her first night as a married woman, and the rest of the dulha's siblings or cousins usually block the doorway to the room and won't allow him into his bedroom until he pays up again!