Big Fat Sri Lankan Wedding

Meera Nagulendran, Staff Writer

Have you ever seen a groom enter his wedding on a horse? This is a very common entrance for a groom in a traditional hindu/indian wedding along with a lot of other very “boujee” aspects. 

I recently went to Sri Lanka to attend my cousin’s wedding and it was, by far, the most extravagant hindu wedding I have ever gone to. It started with the Nalangu, an activity at weddings which helps newly weds get to know each other.  This specific Nalangu was filled with games, holi powder and the traditional smearing of haldi (yellow sandalwood paste that is meant to act as a blessing for the bride and groom).

In addition to the extravagance of the wedding, the trip was too extravagant: it took about 24 hours to travel from New York to Sri Lanka. After, it was a lively journey of 5 days                        filled with travel, outfit changes, hair and makeup artists, and dance rehearsals. These weddings are not for the weak. Uddeshya (a junior and fellow indian at BCCHS) agrees that Indian weddings are “grand, long and fancy,” and he is not wrong.   

The strenuous work and planning that goes into these ceremonies require patience and open-mindedness. At one point, my cousin and I had to sit on the floor for 2 hours making jalebi  bags, which are popular sweet snacks, and picking out all the green pieces because it did not match the theme. Yet, after watching all my family members plan and plan it was incredible to see it all come together. 

The Hindu wedding had almost 250 people and it was at a beautiful hotel on the coast. Similar to American weddings, the bride and groom enter separately. However, in the middle of the ceremony the bride leaves and changes. As she walks down the aisle, all the guests throw flowers on her. I had the honor of being one of the “flower girls” and it was such a stunning part of the wedding to experience. After a lot of prayers and rituals the bride and groom were officially married. 

Two days after the Hindu wedding, the Buddhist wedding occurred. The two ceremonies were very different so it was very interesting to observe the customs of a different culture. There was a traditional sinhalese dance performance and even a singing performance. This wedding was also close to the beach and despite it being 90 degrees fahrenheit and incredibly humid it was an amazing time. 

Now comes the fun stuff: the reception. This was a massive blowout party with live music, drinks, foods, dancers, and more. Everyone is exhausted from all the ceremonies and mini parties prior, but they go all out for the last hoorah.