Weekend of the Engagment Ceremony
In my last post I wrote mostly about the ceremony of my engagement; this post will be about the days leading up to it and that weekend and afterwards.
Early on, it was decided to have the engagement ceremony in Northern California; not for any particular significant reason (ie cultural or traditional). Therefore on a Friday in August my parents and I drove out to Southern California. We made our way to Artesia California, where a large community of Indian people comes to buy their Indian goods. If you have not made your way to this part of Southern California, than you are in for a treat! In this city a small portion is filled with an abundant amount of stores with Indian: dinning, clothing, sweets, jewelry, and religious icons. My family, like most, comes here to buy items that cannot be found in American grocery stores.
After buying Indian sweets and some cultural items, we made our way to my Aunties home. When my Auntie was born in India and before she came to America she used to practice various forms of Indian artwork; one of her many talents is Mehndi*. Here are some photos of her artwork on my hands (free style):
On the left holding the Mehndi cone (my Auntie) and on the left is my hand.
The term Mehndi cone refers to when the Mehndi comes out properly, the shape of the tube is a cone; note the cone shape next to my hand where the Mehndi is coming out.
The end result; please note how there is not a lot of design on my palms. This is because the ceremony is for my engagement. Another part of the Indian culture is to write the fiance initial within the design. Can you find the M? For answer look at bottom of post**.
Simple design on the tips of my figures.
On day two we made our way up to where my in-laws live. We had a small get together for dinner with homemade Indian food. After the late arrival of my sister, everyone went to bed early because the following day was the engagement ceremony. Per the previous post, the engagement party was super small. It was decided that since the wedding was going to be soon, there was no need in sending out invitations for the engagement. After the ceremony was over, everyone changed into American clothes and we went out to dinner. Since my fiance had to work early in the morning, the “kids” called it a night and went to sleep while the parents stayed up and talked.
On day four the entire family filled one SUV and we went touring around the area to visit the in-laws friends and family. Since my fiance had to work, we had to fill our time with activities and meet him later for dinner. My parents and sister had never seen his home before so after our touring and his work, we met him at his home. This may seem like just a convent place to meet, however this was a big deal because my parents are traditional; they wanted to see for themselves what kind of home I will move into. The fiance got a thumbs up from my family! For dinner we went to eat out and now then it was my turn to feel the pressure because I was going to meet my fiances closest cousin (practically a sister to him).
To be honest I was too nervous for dinner, I ate one slice of pizza and tried to make conversation. I was fortunate to have my sister with me; story goes that when my sister was a kid she used to play with my fiances cousin sister! So they caught up about her career and her life in Northern California. When I built up the nerve to speak I was able to contribute to the conversation; I even talked to her (the cousin sister) about how we should hang out the next time I come to Northern California and maybe she could introduce me to some of her network contacts. The night ended pretty well with everyone tired from the adventures of the day.
On day five my family made our way back home. All in all the engagement weekend, meeting both family relatives, and the engagement ceremony was as prefect as it could be.
You might be wondering where the engagement ring story is. You will have to wait until a future post to see what the Indian traditions for an engagement ring are.
*Mehndi is the Hindu word for Henna
**The M for my fiance initial is located on the top hand. Look at my pinky finger and follow it up to the above the swirl, where the M is slanted.