Sunday, August 24, 2008

A Saturday Afternoon Engagement

The day after the mehndi party, Eddie and I attended S&M's engagement ceremony at Darya in Orange. In accordance with the rituals of the Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church, this really was a formal ceremony and not just a party. The last engagement ceremony I attended was my brother's. But since that was almost 18 years ago and I was horribly jet lagged at the time, I didn't remember much of what happened. I didn't have one myself, so I was very interested seeing the ceremony.

Now S&M were actually engaged a few months ago. And this was not an arranged marriage scenario at all. But after watching the ceremony, it was clear that the ceremony's roots are within the arranged marriage culture of India. It began with representatives of the groom's family making a proposal to the bride's parents via an officiant. The bride's parents then accepted. After both sets of parents were in agreement, the priest inquired whether those of us present also agreed to the match. After the crowd gave its assent, the priest then announced the "terms of the contract". That sounds a lot worse than what it actually is. ;-) The contract merely contained the names of the families, the bride and groom and the date, location & time of the marriage. Then each parent signed the contract and exchanged copies of it. The ceremony concluded with remarks from the priest and one of my least favorite bible passages ever -- something about a wife submitting to her husband. Who wants to do that?!

The priest who conducted the ceremony turned out to be a longtime friend of my family. Although I was raised Catholic, my dad is technically Jacobite. So in addition to going to weekly mass with the rest of us, he would also go to monthly Jacobite services. Since the congregation in the bay area used to be quite small, the priest in the photo below would fly up from OC to conduct services. I hadn't seen him in years, but the priest and his wife instantly recognized me.

After the ceremony portion was over, the groom, M, gave an incredibly moving speech that made mention of his late father. All 200 of us were either in tears or on the verge. I nearly lost it completely when I saw S gently rub M's back as he was fighting through his own tears. Such a showing of love and support in such a small gesture not visible to most ..... it had me completely verklempt.
Every guest had a chance to take photos with the happy couple. S was wearing a beautifully embellished lehenga. She said that it was so heavy she needed two people to hold it up as she got dressed.
Darya is a Persian restaurant. If you've never tried Persian food, you're missing out. The food was good and plentiful. It was a good thing I nabbed this pic of S&M's plates because the buffet servers were a little messy when it came to plating by the time we wound through the line.

I had met several of S' friends the night before at the mehndi party and we sat with them at the ceremony. Apart from our friendship with S we all shared another common bond -- we are all USF alumni. Go Dons! Below is one of the lovely ladies I had the pleasure of meeting. On the left: Marianne in a black and white floral print dress. On the right: Ann Marie in a black and white floral dress. :-)

1 comment:

WeezerMonkey said...

I am cracking up at the last bit. Too funny!