In this amazing way, I’ve been included in something very special. Not everyone gets invited or can attend one of these truly miraculous spectacles. This morning was the celebration during this 4 day wedding festival, which included mendi (painting henna on the hands). The guests gathered to eat, dance and be painted on. The smell of the mendi is sweet and natural, almost like licorice or caraway, something about it is flowery and sweet and soft.Mendi at an Indian Wedding Festival
The bride is the only one who gets mendi painted up her whole arm and on her feet. This will ensure that wherever she goes people will see the mark and congratulate her on her new marriage for weeks to come. (Kind of like when I congratulate people with new babies-I stopped doing it to pregnant women just in case they’re not actually pregnant!) 😉
The groom also gets mendi.
It was extremely fun, colorful, full of motion, smiles, laughter, music, dancing and tons of Indian food from around the regions, curries, breads, pancake like items, fried foods, noodles, potatoes, vegetables, appetizers with bread and cheese. I drank several fruit juices including coconut water with pulp and a juice I’d never seen before, let alone heard of…the caterer showed me the “fruit”, it looked like a big green bamboo shoot. It was scrumptious…reminded me a little of lime juice with mint or something…just so hard to describe but very elegant and silky tasting with a sweetness which was lovely.
Different coffees and desserts, an amazing array of everything colorful around the room from the food to the bride to the sarees, flowers, decor, hanging flowers, lanterns, bed-like benches, pillows, all colorful and bright. And with the music, clapping, dancing, laughing and joy around the room from around the world (including guests from Dubai, New Jersey, Canada, Rhode Island and L.A.), one couldn’t help but get involved in the pure jubilee of the celebration.
I partook of lots of spicy food (and I do like spicy food, but this cannot describe the spice in this food, LA doesn’t do India justice). A language barrier brought about a funny incident. A waiter was doting on me for much of the day…in fact, as you have mendi painted on you, your hands must stay straight for an hour while they dry, so you cannot touch anything or eat or drink with your hands, so they feed you! Several women fed me (even when I wasn’t hungry! lol). Like Italian mothers, they hovered and took appetizers from the trays of the servers and shoved foods into my mouth one after another. Others also offered to feed me and when I managed to say, “no,” another would come and stuff a delightful delicacy in my mouth. Snubbed, the other would offer again. So, when this waiter came around, the woman said, let him give you something to drink and the waiter took the drink and began to pour it into my mouth, but he was a little too anxious and poured too quickly, I almost could not keep up with the sweet liquid flowing down my throat. He smiled slyly, but he got the picture and stopped before it became a mess, just at the dire moment. This same waiter, outside, when I could eat with my own hands, came to me and asked me if I wanted anything. I pointed to one of the dishes I was eating and told him, “this is very spicy, good, but spicy.” Well, he didn’t speak English (either Hindi or Gujrati), so he walked away and appeared a few minutes later with another serving of the spicy dish for me.
The people I met that morning were friendly and loving. They were so family-oriented, devoted to them, showering them with affection and goodwill. It was a beauty to behold this amazing event. I am a lucky girl.