What started off as a small note on the food preparation for Kashmiri Weddings has somehow got me into putting into words my experiences, perceptions, ideas on Kashmiri Wedding in a series of articles. Part 2 talked of the match-making process, while the last article – part 3 – talked of the ‘Nishayn’ or engagement, this article will go ahead on the post-engagement period of Kashmiri Wedding. [We also had another article in the series about the village wedding specifically about Kupwara]
Dating the Kashmiri way
Now once the engagement process is done, somehow the society thinks its ok for the bride to be and groom to be to go for dates officially. Yet again there has been a satirical wedding song about it “Khandaras broonthi chakras lagyo paeriye” (You can download it here from downloads.qazimamoon.com) – referring to the dating process before marriage being a new custom that we Kashmiris have started.
Point to note is that some years back ‘dating’ was something considered a hush hush thing. Couples who did go out together (to watch movies, shikara rides, mughal gardens) would do so hoping nobody they know sees them. Being caught ‘red-handed’ was something to be really embarrassed about.
And going back a few decades, dating was unheard of. The bride and the groom did not meet until they were married.
Obviously things are not going in the right direction. While wanting to become ‘modern’ – our society is leaving behind the values that make us what we are… and yet we Kashmiris pride in being Kashmiris…
And the customs
The time duration of the ‘engagement period’ can be short – 6 months and can go on for years. As expected many of the engagements that continue for years do not end up in marriage. This is my personal observation and maybe this is something maybe the sociologists can study.
Anyhow, this is not the point I wish to discuss. We are talking of the customs that ‘have’ to be followed during the post-engagement period. We have things like “Roz-kushada” – which is something sent (think of money, gold, wazwan etc.) by the boy’s family to girl’s family during Ramadan to tell the girl to eat now, coz you wont get to eat later…. What? naaah. Just kidding. The Roza-Kushada is meant as a custom to sort of hope that the fasting is easy. I don’t know the actual purpose of it – but well it is there.
Then there is the Eid visits where the girl/boy get tons of eidi by the in-laws. For some it could be monetary, for others it could be in terms of gold (yes, there is a lot of gold changing hands in Kashmiri marriages)
And yes, when winter starts, the girl’s family generally sends Harrisa (made of mutton cooked into a very thick paste -*very yummy) to the boy’s family to welcome the winter.
Now, did I miss any other customs? I am sure there are many others that have been forgotten and many more that have been invented to complicate things. Reader’s please help out in comments section.
And the girl’s wardan
Throughout the engagement period, the girl’s family is set towards completing the wardan(things that the bride would take to her new home) for the girl. This wardan consists of shoes, bags, clothes, shawls, in many suitcases packed for the new house. These are usually sufficient for the girl to use for a few years at least.
And of course, then there is the purchase of gold jewellery and ‘coins’ by both sides (bride’s family and groom’s family) to be gifted during weddings. The gifts are to be given to various members of the boy’s family and to the girl by the groom’s family.
The whole extended family is rather involved in the process of selecting and approving the collections which will soon be put on display during the wedding.
We Kashmiris are people pleaser and yet please nobody – not even ourselves…