A couple of days ago, my family and I attended a Hindu wedding. My father’s business partner had arranged his daughter to marry another Hindu from America, and they decided to get married here in the Philippines because, honestly, it’s cheaper here.
I’ve never been to a Hindu wedding before. Growing up, I was not schooled about my father’s culture. He was Hindu, sure, but his family’s poverty made him less concerned about preserving tradition and more concerned about getting food on his plate everyday. He enlisted in the military when he was 16 and got out of it when he was in his late 40s. Thus, most of the Hindu traditions that, ideally, he should have passed on to his children, were almost non-existent. I don’t know anything about the religion other than they are the “students”, and that’s as vague as it can get. I don’t know about their gods, their temples, their traditions–I’m clueless.
And so I agreed to go to the wedding, not knowing anything about what is going to happen.
We arrived at the Hindu temple in Paco, Manila by noon time. We were ushered in by the caretakers to the second floor, where the shrine was. The shrine was where the wedding will take place. There was no one inside but the bride, groom, their parents and us. It was quite an awkward affair, to be honest. We were the only ones invited, no one else. I get that they wanted the wedding to be a private affair, but this seemed…too much.
The wedding was short, compared to the Catholic weddings I have attended and am familiar with. The caretakers were also the ones who officiated the wedding and we were there to watch the ceremony take place. I can’t really describe how the wedding happened because it was all in Hindi, and I can’t speak the language. Afterwards, we were ushered out of the temple and were given well-wishes.
After that, we spent the reception in this Indian restaurant in Makati. It was my first time trying authentic Indian food. I say authentic because my father’s version of Indian food was so watered down it was almost American (the chicken in his curry was deep-fried!)
The food was extremely delicious, though a bit on the spicy side. I have GERD, so I can only stomach the non-spicy dishes. I particularly liked the tandoori chicken.
The event wrapped up quickly after the reception, and, taking our cue, we decided to extend our congratulations and left.
Overall, I think the event was a success, although it was a little too solemn and too private for me. But, like I said, I am unfamiliar with the culture so maybe that’s how their weddings are supposed take place. The father’s bride joked to me, at the end of the day, that should I get married, this is also what would happen. I just laughed awkwardly because not only am I not Hindu, but I am not even planning on getting married in the first place.
I think I experienced a bit of culture shock, to be honest. There were some aspects of the ceremony that made me realize how little I know about my father’s culture. However, I did try to be as open-minded and appreciative of the ceremony that I was graciously offered to attend.
I wish the newly-wedded couple all the best; they deserve all the happiness and love the world has to offer.