So anyway during the 50's and 60's, so they say, the Indo-Fijians really put an emphasis on education, sending many of their children to study overseas, and return as doctors, lawyers, financiers and other professionals. Ironically many of their own were to stay on the lowest rung of the socio economic ladder- hence they are the richest and poorest. The coups of '87 and 2000 sadly had ugly racist overtones, in stark contrast to the one of December 5th last year; but that's another story, coming soon to a blog near you...(but maybe not mine!)
Priya's widowed mother lives in a house humble by our standards, but Priya's graduation photo hangs proudly on her wall. Amy and I were SO excited to be invited to go to the wedding. Amy put on her Salwar Kameez, and I borrowed one off Shelley. Right from the start it was so visually...what can I say but wow. In the Salwar I was very under dressed- every other woman past their teens was in a sari! But that was OK as Priya said I was welcome to take some photos, and that involved a bit of scrambling I may not have been able to do in a sari. So here's what it looked like, with some comments from our (very ignorant) point of view. Any one who knows more about these things is welcome to add comments or corrections.
When we arrived we went into see Priya. She looked SO beautiful! Her friends were preparing her for the ceremony and she was covered in acres of beautiful sequined red sari, jewelery, and henna patterns on her hands and feet. The red cloths over all the windows cast a eerie red glow.
Preparations in the kitchen too
Outside a shelter had been constructed against the side of the house, with seating and a stage. After a bit a convey of cars arrived, led by a brightly decorated ute- the groom had arrived! The groom, what appeared to be the equivalent of the minister and his people approached the house, and were met by Priya's people before being allowed to proceed.
After that there was more music, and things were thrown at the groom. Girls peeped out of the house from time to time, but it was some time before Priya came out. A bunch of guys sat on a mat and drank Kava.
The first part of the long ceremony they sat on the stage. Then they proceeded to the amazing bit- walking seven (I think seven!?) times around the fire...
It was a very sombre occasion, white powder was sprinkled, and eventually red dots added before the couple headed indoors.
It was a long ceremony, some of the kids ran around and play, some napped...
and us? we went and had some food. It was completely vegetarian, and served out of a big aluminium bucket and totally delicious! Then we (Stuart, Hannah, Amy and I i.e.) finished up with a nice coffee at Bulaccino (in our Indian outfits)...
A long, but amazing day. Thanks Priya and Nilesh, and best wishes for a long and happy marriage!