August 20, 2008

WALIMA

On Sunday, the final wedding event was the Walima, a sort of brunch reception that takes place after the consummation of the marriage. No, seriously, that’s what the speaker said at the thing. This event seems to be the groom’s family’s doing, and it ended up being fairly military. My friend just got out of the Army after being Special Forces, so his Army buddies were in their dress blues, and they performed the saber arch as my friend and his new wife arrived. My friend also wore his blues, and his wife again looked stunning in a bejewelled robin-egg blue dress.

Some of my friend’s cousins and friends got up and spoke a few words, like you would do at a toast during a Western wedding. I made some jokes about high school and what a good friend he’s been over the past 16 years. And then there was Pakistani food and merriment again.

After my little toast, several people came up to me to thank me for my husband’s service, which is always nice but especially nice to hear from the Muslim community. In fact, during the wedding ceremony on Saturday, when the officiant mentioned that my friend had served his country, it got a round of applause during the sermon. Those things just affirmed my good feelings for everyone I met this weekend.

And my friend asked the wedding photographer to take a photo of two of the guests: his cousin, who wears a traditional turban, dishdasha, and long beard, and his SF buddy in his dress blues. Everyone laughed as the two men symbolically shook hands and then threw their arms around each other for a photo.

So that was the wedding. As I bid my friend and his wife goodbye, I got tears in my eyes. I was overwhelmed by the emotions of the weekend, and I sadly don’t know when I’ll get to see them again. His entire family made me feel so welcome this week, and I hate to say goodbye to them.

But he’s kept in touch over the past 12 years, so I’m sure we can manage in the future.

What an awesome experience this whole event was. I am so glad that I came home for it and that I got an inside glimpse at the local Muslim community and their customs. It really gave me a perspective on some things I’ve only considered in the theoretical before.

(See also the Mehndi and the wedding posts.)

Posted by: Sarah at 05:09 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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