May 27th, 2010 |
With all the legal and cultural requirements of a wedding completed, there is but one final function remaining in the long line of wedding celebrations: PAAAAARTYYY!! Ahem, sorry, I meant: the Walima. The origins of this event lie in a strong Sunnah of the Prophet, who would always arrange a feast in celebration of weddings (his own, or his daughters). While it isn’t a requirement (or ‘fard’) for an Islamic acceptance of a wedding, it is highly recommended. The motivation being to make a marriage well known in the community.
In Pakistan, the Walima is held a day or two after the Shaadi and is considered a function of the groom’s family (unlike the shaadi and the mehendi, which are usually held on the bride’s turf!). With the bride already living with the groom, this event is a simple invitation for her family to dine with the groom’s, with very little rasms (customs) that take place. That doesn’t mean its boring, however! It just means you’re free to make you’re own versions of fun!
You can always see the photos in bigger sizes:
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It's an unspoken rule that the Walima day is Suit Day. The groom, his friends and family put on ties and look all important and formal. Neil Patrick Harris would be proud!
Ah, the ever present connection of weddings to being gifted kitchen appliances. We all know that's probably a blender. Or a blender 6-pack. Why must EVERYONE give a blender? Well, at least it beats the more suggestive gifts... like baby strollers.
The closest analogue to a Walima in western culture would be the wedding reception. The bride and groom are married and is is socially acceptable for them to be seen together! Of course you may argue that the dinner and gathering during/after a nikah ceremony in the Shaadi is in itself a reception. Just... dont argue... This could be a reception #2. Happy? Or 3rd, if the family celebrated Nikah and Shaadi separately... hmm ...
The concept of the Walima is to 'show' the couple to the friends and family of the groom, whereas the primary guestlist at Shaadis is set by the bride's family. As such, the most important part of the evening at Walimas is the entrance of the couple. Music plays, lights are dimmed... Climatic!
And of course, the subsequent photo ops : D What follows is a grueling hour or so (for the photographer at least!) where people want to, for some unexplainable reason, be photographed with the couple. The photography sessions are also the place where aunties check you out. Since families will usually take their photos together, an aunty will keep a lookout for your ammi and approach her later Protip: Take photos with multiple families. It will throw off the rishta aunties...!
The rest of the Walima is about having fun! Since it is the groom's function, his friends will usually put on a dance or a skit.
Entertainment is entertainment! The groom's brother puts on a humorous skit with his guitar! While this may be a more western influence, putting on a show in this fashion is decidedly a very desi thing to do : )
And yes, incase you're wondering, that *is* me. Dancing to 'Pehla Nasha'. Youtube it, you'll understand ;P
As I said before, there are no set rules for Walima. Families and guests will do what they find fun. Which, in this case, meant dancing into the night...
There you have it folks, Weddings in Pakistan! If you missed any of the previous posts, here they all are:
Courtship and Marriage in Pakistan
The Dholki and the Mayoon
Hope you enjoyed them! Do share your experiences and traditions at any weddings that you’ve been to. Would love to hear about them! Who knows, I might get to shoot them someday
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