We are invited for a real Pakistani wedding. One of the girls of the SOS-Children’s village in Lahore will get married soon. A very special occasion since this the girl will go to the husbands house with her new family straight after the wedding and therefore leave the SOS-village.
We arrive in Lahore on Thursday night. The wedding is planned on Saturday. At least, that is what we thought. We didn’t understand that a Pakistani wedding lasts a bit longer that 1 day. Thursday night I am invited in house number 1, the house where Madina (the bride) lives. There I find out that all the older girls of the village come together for two weeks before the wedding to practice the wedding songs, the dances and to make the dresses. The songs and dances will be shown on Saturday night. That night is the Mandhi night, the henna night. This is the night before the real wedding.
And then it is Saturday. I have already henna on my hands and wear my Pakistani dress. At nine we are asked to come to the garden. They have put some carpets on the ground and most of the girls sit down to sing the songs they have been practising for the last two weeks. At eleven at night the Broom and his family arrive (which is a very modern thing since most of the time they will first meet on the date of the real wedding, i.e. Sunday)
With a lot of drums, singing, dancing and flowers the invite the family to come into the village. The unmarried friends of the broom are dancing around him. One of the man of the family is throwing money to the broom to wish him a fortunate life. After this ritual the broom sits down on one of the chairs in the middle of the garden. But where is the bride. We haven’t seen her tonight… We hope they didn’t forget to invite her…! But fortunately around twelve she comes outside her house. And what we didn’t know is that she is not allowed to show her face tonight. Only after the Sunday ceremony the will first see each other. So with her head completely covered she is brought to her chair, next to her broom. They look a bit nervous. I would have been, if I was her!
They get some sweets, this time to wish them a good life and the get some symbolic presents. After one hour, the party is over and they bring the bride inside again. Tomorrow will be the big day. Tomorrow she can show her face to the family of the broom and will she be wearing a beautiful dress. After the wedding, she will be taken to the husbands house.