I had an opportunity to attend my first Indian Wedding. From what I am told there is a difference between weddings in the north and in the south (we were in the south) and also if it is a Christian or traditional Hindu wedding. This was a Christian wedding -- it was the nephew of Saji's -- I flew to Cochin where I met Saji (he arrived 3 days earlier) at the airport and we boarded a bus which took us to another location about 45 minutes away - - where we boarded yet another bus. That ride although it hit great speeds (check out video clips) it sill took 4 hours. We then proceeded to get an auto-rickshaw where we arrived at the village of Saji's Sister & Brother-in-law (whose son was to be married). Travel in India can be very tiring to say the least. I actually flew most of the way -- Saji had a 25 hour train ride on top of all the buses.
We stayed at an unfinished house in the village that a local couple was gracious enough to let us use -- they had built their house and had hoped that missionaries might stay in one of the rooms some day -- before the house was done -- God had already answered their prayers. Many of the people in this area are Christian -- I think as a state Kerala has the most Christians per capita.
The next day it was trip to town to get a wedding gift and then to return to the beginning of the festivities for the wedding. They started with a prayer meeting for the groom the night before and then a meal. In the morning there was breakfast and then the groom got dressed and the photographs began.
Not only the traditions caught my attention -- but the way as a community they moved in this together. The entire village was invited to the wedding -- nearly 500 people.
We walked down the road to the waiting cars to take us to the church - the whole wedding party and then got inside the cars and moved towards the hall. It was across the street from the biggest Catholic Church in Kerala -- which is a very beautiful building. The hall held over 400 seats and then there was a balcony as well. The ceremony lasts about an hour and then there is eating, they cut the cake and then more pictures and it is done. Receptions are not really a part of this kind of wedding beyond the meal.
I was asked to sing which was an honor and also a challenge. It was so hot I almost fell asleep during the wedding so I had to really try and snap out of it before I started.
Here are a few pictures from the day.