Here’s a story from a friend that I thought you might enjoy about the cultural difference in weddings.
Walking through the hallway of the hotel, I peered into various rooms along the way taking a look of the activities inside. Women of all ages were getting ready in one way or another; fixing their hair, checking out their dresses, putting on makeup, or chatting and commenting about others. As I made my way to another floor of the hotel, the guys were busy as well. Suits and ties were getting situated in perfect symmetry, complaints were being made about their significant others’ overstressing the event, and kids were running rampant enjoying the company of others their age. Sounds like any other wedding, doesn’t it?
Except in this wedding, there are no flower girls, bridesmaid, or a best man. There isn’t any bouquet tossing or champagne bottles, and as the comedian Russell Peters said “No one throws rice.” It’s a Pakistani wedding; a blend of the sanctimonious ceremony of marriage and the influences of the Southeastern Asian culture. Having attended family weddings before in America but never one in Pakistan, I thought I knew what to expect; a formal chain of events encompassing a few days worth of time, which would include socializing, singing, and maybe even a little dancing. I was wrong. I had never truly experienced an event such like this, one that spanned for almost a week involving a myriad of traditions. Then the meshwork of colors from the women’s dresses to all the lights and décor of the events itself, the sound of the music playing in the background and the hundreds of voices talking and singing at once, to the smell of the food being cooked at the buffet line right beside us, the entire experience indulges all your senses. Each day brought a different aura to it, its own set of activities, and the mood that was set forth. It was a plethora of experiences, one that offered a chance to immerse myself in my culture and people.
To truly experience a different culture, I believe you have to go to the place itself and partake in their cultural events. Pakistani, and most cultural weddings in America are in ways influenced by their surroundings. Even though these events are remarkable, I appreciated the chance to see what a wedding is truly like in Pakistan. Like the weddings of every nation or religion, it offers a cultural glimpse of who we are as people.