- Chitopani & Pokhara
Tikka is tying the knot in true Nepali fashion, an
arranged marriage. They annouced the wedding about three weeks before
the actual date. Tikka, up to the wedding, had only seen his bride to be
once and they haven't spoken to each other at all.
was on April 14th, the second day of the Nepali New Year, a very
auspicious day. It started early. Devi, Tikka's cousin, Sarita, his
sister, Aama, his mother and I started out from his home in Arvabijaya
village at 6:30 in the morning. Chitopani is a two hour trek away and we
didn't want to miss any of the festivities. We walked through the valley
to the base of a mountain and then began the
long arduous trek up to Tikka's birthplace and home, where his mother
still lives. Tika is a modern man, living and working in Lakeside, so I
was a bit surprised that he chose an arranged marriage.
fire surrounded by offerings
After an hour of climbing, we reached the top and went into
the courtyard of his small home, which was so festively decorated.
Outside, a small fire had been built and it was surrounded by numerous
offerings, platters of food, leaf bowls of rice, scattered coins and
colored powder decorated the ground in intricate patterns. All this was
contained within a small tented area made by four bamboo poles and
covered in flowers and lacy decorations. This sacred holy fire was also
the site of the numerous rituals to follow. A traditional Nepali band
played over on one side, drums, and strange high-pitched squeaky flutes.
people arrive, they are greeted with tikka, red colored powder mixed
with rice and water to form a paste that is applied to your forehead.
Then offered fruit and sweets, specially prepared only at weddings.
I am enjoying some.
rituals begins with villagers from all over gathering to
officially send Tikka off. This is
done by every person placing a 'tikka' on his forehead and placing money in his 'tope'
the traditional Nepali men's cap. The first to do so are the married
women of his family. He then presents them each with a gift of cloth,
most often a sari.
is Tika and his mother giving the traditional blessing to each other.
She has just been given a sari.
The line of people
can is quite long and when Tika is finally finished, almost his entire
forehead is covered.
Finally, when Tikka has been blessed by
everyone, he sets out with his entourage, basically all the men, boys
and young, unmarried girls of his family and friends. All the married
women however stay behind, dancing, singing
and eating in joyful expectation of his return with his bride.
group headed back down the mountain, lead by the wedding band. We headed
to the base of the mounatins where the vehicles Tika had rented were
horns triumphantly announced our arrival at every village.
There was a small
van for the young ladies. The sign on the front grill reads 'Shuba
Bibaha' - Happy Wedding! It was a more sedate choice of transportation.
There was a rented
car reserved for Tika and his close male friends. It was festooned with
streamers, flowers and of course, more tikka powder.
The men and boys and
of course, myself, loaded into the bus, the rowdier choice.
The top was reserved
for the band and those who had worked themselves into marriage day
frenzy. We took of down the street, and I watched in
amazement, as people surfed the top of the bus, convulsing wildly to the
frenetic music amid the hooting and hollering. We rode in this fashion,
through the village site and on the road to Pokhara, taking the scenic
route whenever possible to move as slowly as possible, but ever
inextricably toward the bride's house.
atop the bus and enjoying the moment...
arrived and unloaded, walking past a festively decorated house and a huge
tent set up with chairs
and a long table for
food. But we shuffled past to the
back of the house,
where we passed by a similar setup
of sacred fire and
offerings en route to a open area
where two chairs and a
small coffee table was set up.
Tikka took a seat, and
henceforth, the wedding rituals
the she appeared ...
Culture | 1