Sunday, May 15, 2011

Wedding in Mumbai

Clockwise from top: Angela (the bride), her mother Mary, her sister Sarah, her friend Kellie, and her step-mother Cori.

I love this photo from my niece's wedding in Mumbai, India. I love it partly because the mehndi looks so fun, and the patterns are so interesting.  And I love it because it represents a celebration by these women of a cultural custom that none of these women where born into.

Mehndi is the application of henna in elaborate designs on the hands, and in the case of the bride, on the feet.  It is commonly done for weddings, but also for childbirth.  Some believe the deeper the red color the greater the love in the marriage, and the better the bond between the bride and her mother-in-law.  The bride also doesn't have to do housework until the mehndi fades, usually in two or three weeks.  Sometimes the groom's name or initials are hidden in the pattern and he is tasked with finding them.

Last year my niece, Angela, and her husband Suhail married in New York.  This spring they had a wedding in India.  I wasn't able to go but several of my family members went. 

Weddings in India take place over several days.  Suhail's family hired professionals to apply the mehndi.  Here is Angela getting started with her mehndi. The henna is in paste form, and looks very dark until the paste flakes off hours later.  Then the patterns are dark red in color.

Left: my sister-in-law Mary, and my niece Sarah on the right

Here is Angela with the finished design.  It is very dark because the paste is still on. She's so beautiful. And isn't her jewelry beautiful and interesting?  I want to find out more about the history of this jewelry.  It resembles in design the jewelry often shown on Kwan Yin.  I've been unsuccessful in my quest to find out about Kwan Yin's jewelry.

Suhail and Angela

Here's the bride and groom. You can get a peek at the mehndi on her feet in this photo.

My brother Lee, Angela's father.

My brother Lee and Angela were the only two blue eyed people at the wedding.  There was a lot of interest in their eye color.  This red dress is the wedding dress. I wish I had a better picture of the skirt.  It is very elaborate and gorgeous.  My brother is wearing traditional dress here.  All the members of my family wore traditional Indian dress during the wedding.

Family members.  My sister-in-law, Cori, second from left, took many of these photos.

The happy bride and groom--Suhail and Angela.

Here is the bride and groom on the wedding day. We're so happy to have Suhail in the family. 


My Life Under the Bus said...

Gorgeous , gorgeous photos!!! It is beautiful to see things so intermingled and beautiful - here dresses are gorgeous too! Thanks for sharing!

Leslie Todd said...

Thanks! I love looking at all the gorgeous colors. I hope to go to India in a couple of years.

thetexpatstarling said...

Leslie, you should come with us next time we go. I have some pictures of the jewelry I'm wearing on the actual wedding day (red dress) and I need help identifying the stones, because some have fallen out.
Fun facts on the mehndi: Eucalyptus oil is a major ingredient, so it smells very strongly. I love the smell, but Suhail hates it. After pictures were shot, he would step away, and make a face. It was an endless source of amusement to me.
I'll ask my SIL about the mehndi jewelry.

Leslie Todd said...

I would love to go next time. I had forgotten about the eucalyptus. Suhail put a good face on it...all puns intended.

Kim Stevens said...

Oh, thanks for sharing Leslie - so beautiful! Loved that red dress, quite stunning!

Leslie Todd said...

Thanks, Kim!