I've been married three times. Yep, three times to the same man.The first ceremony was at the courthouse to get our marriage license. The second was a Catholic ceremony at Paradise Cove in Malibu because I always wanted a beach wedding. The third was a Hindu one when we visited Malaysia for the first time. PS–I’d never met my husband’s family until that trip two years after our first (courthouse) wedding.
While the Hindu wedding was much different than the Catholic ceremony, I definitely noticed similarities between the expressions of the two faiths in my first trip to Malaysia.
The morning of our Hindu wedding, we went to the local temple to honor Ganesh (the elephant god in the picture), an important deity to my husband’s family.
Then we took the supplies and headed back to the house for a small, intimate ceremony. The nuptials were in Telegu, my Hindu family’s language, so I had no idea what was going on. However, I did think it was incredibly cool that the ceremony was performed by my MIL and FIL along with two other women friends of the family. Catholicism has such a strong, patriarchal tradition that it was refreshing to be honored by women during this process.
Certain elements of the Hindu ritual were very familiar to me as a Catholic. They used incense, which is used often during Catholic rites. There were also tiny oil lamps, like the candles used in Catholic marriages. And what wedding would be complete without flowers?
Obviously, there were some VERY foreign elements. For some reason we passed around two bananas in a coconut. I have no idea what that meant, so I made up my own explanation. Instead of two peas in a pod, we’d be like two bananas in a coconut. Anyway, it was a cute little memory.
My wedding sari was much more colorful than the white dress for the Christian ceremony, but I LOVED all that jewelry, wearing fresh jasmine in my hair, and getting henna on my hands and feet.
In the evening, we ate lots of delicious Indian food with my new family and friends. And that is definitely familiar to me as a Catholic, because we marry in the afternoon and party all night.
To me, all religions are beautiful. The cultural differences represented by each one speaks to the infinite beauty that is God. Of course God can manifest in the mosaic of ways that shows itself across our amazing planet. To me, God is goodness and God is love. In my own life, I used both Hindu and Christian ceremonies to express that love within my own marriage.
Now may we forever be…
Two bananas in a coconut.
*Originally posted on The Literary Ladies