Sunday, April 10, 2005

Sikh Wedding Continued

Sikh Wedding Continued

This weekend, the Locks are in Kansas City to attend a Sikh (India) wedding of a friend.

What a day!

We got up in the morning to get ready for the Sikh wedding. It was being held in a Sikh temple in Kansas, the next state over. It actually only turned out to be a 20 mile trip from our hotel in downtown KC, 30 if you count us getting lost trying to find it.

We got to the temple about 11. We noticed everyone had their shoes off so we obliged and took ours off. Most of the crowd was downstairs sitting in an empty room, sitting around and talking. And when I say sitting around, they were all on the floor. There was no furniture at all in this building. We joined the crowd and took our floor seat. Me, Mrs. Lock and Baby Lock in her carseat, waiting for the ceremony to begin. About 11:30, they called us upstairs to the sanctuary to begin the wedding. We all filed upstairs. Mrs. Lock and I noticed everyone putting on head scarves before going in. We saw a crate outside the door of the sanctuary filled with scarves. I grabbed a couple, one for me which I tied into a bandana, and one for Mrs. Lock who just wore hers as a head scarf.

Walking into the sanctuary, several people were seated - again no furniture, on the ground sitting on white sheets which spanned the room. We noticed something else, the men were sitting on the right side of the sanctuary and the women on the left. We wanted to observe the Sikh traditions, so Mrs. Lock took her place with the women and I and Baby Lock sat with the men. Most of the men were sitting Indian style (no pun intended) with legs crossed. I found I was able to sit that way for about an hour before I needed to start shifting.

The ceremony was interesting. I couldn't understand a word of it but I do know they had singers, and music, and testimonies about people's relationship with the bride and groom. There was an act towards the end of the ceremony when the Guru (I guess that's who conducted the ceremony) would stop speaking, music and singing would startup, the groom stood, the bride behind loosely tethered to the groom with a long scarf, and the couple would circle the Guru once, then take their places in front of him again. The Guru would say more words, music would start, groom and bride stood up and circle him again. This went out four times, before the ceremony ended. Now they were married.

After the ceremony, some patrons of the temple went around and handed out this doughy food that everyone partook of. It was a symbol of unity and a way to tear down the classes people tend to take in life. If we all ate the same thing together, we were all equal. This part was explained in English fortunately. I had my piece and enjoyed it.

After that, everyone stood up and left the sanctuary. It was back downstairs for lunch. The bride and groom went outside, sat on the sidewalk in actual chairs while friends and relatives would make their way out before or after lunch to greet them, congratulate them and have their picture taken with them. Mrs. Lock and I headed downstairs first for lunch. Everyone was sitting on the floor again in rows. Everyone had a paper plate and patrons of the temple would walk down the rows dishing out whatever they had in their pot. And it was all very good. Mrs. Lock and I are quite used to Indian food and we tasted dishes we've had many times before but there were new entrees we've never had and wonder if our local Indian restaurant would carry them. Not that we knew what to ask for. I do remember one dish they called yogurt. It turned out it was soupy sour cream. It was still good even if it weren't as sweet as what I was expecting something called yogurt to be.

So we finished our meal, then headed outside to greet the new couple. The groom, who was a friend of ours, asked to have our picture taken with them. We were honored. They both looked very good in their traditional clothes, and me in my suit and tie and Mrs. Lock in her skirt, it was quite a contrast.

After that it was back to the hotel to get ready for the reception tonight.

Back at the hotel, I crashed into a nap. I'm not sure what the family did in the meantime, just lounged around I imagine. We started getting ready for the reception at around 6. It was being held just 3 blocks from our hotel so we were in no hurry.

We got to the reception which was being held on the second floor of Club 1000 which seemed to be a bar/restaurant on the first floor. Second floor was a giant banquet hall reserved for occasions like this.

We grabbed the table closest to the bathroom since we had Baby Lock with us. We met a lot of nice people. The open bar was getting me nice and toasted with several rum and cokes. The appetizer and dinner (again Indian, that's all we've had this weekend) were delicious. And the music started. The banquet hall had 4 or 5 serious industrial size speakers mounted around this dance floor at the front of the room. When the music started, some sort of Pop-Indian genre, nice beat, they must have turned the volume to 11. We were at the back of the room it was blasting. We didn't mind it so much but Baby Lock was looking confused. We covered her ears best we could, but when we started getting tired of doing that, we decided to leave. We'd been there a few hours already, got the dinner, the booze, the cake, met a lot of people and we were ready to retire for the evening. We had a blast the whole weekend. Many thanks to the groom for inviting us. You wouldn't believe just how popular he is. 200 came to the ceremony, over 300 to the reception. Those Indians know how to party.