It often happens that brothers and sisters can be so different from one another.
My two are no exception.
Our Son is quite, serious and logical. And our daughter is fun loving, feisty and fiery.
Now that she is engaged to be married next year, we have stated looking at the essentials for the big day. Over the weekend I went with her to London, where we had a great time. Her trying out wedding dresses, and me being smug when I was told that I have a very beautiful daughter
Marriage is a very important occasion in any culture. And a daughters wedding is of great importance for her mother. Am a mother with dual values! Born and brought up in a different culture, I have children who are born and brought up in the West and have very different values and am used to other customs.
The wedding of a daughter is something of a social statement in the Asian continent. The jewellery and dresses are collected and kept ready, from the time the girl attains puberty. Mothers have great authority. Fathers usually avoid this aspect, having provided the money, the leave these aspects to the female relatives. Relatives and friends and acquaintances start arriving months in advance to “lend a hand” with the preparations. Advice pours in from all quarters. The house of the bride is a hive of activity from months before the event. The would be bride; on the other hand has no say in it. She is expected to blush and keep a very low profile.
The marriage of your daughter is supposed to be a heart wrenching occasion. An Asian girl is brought up as someone who belongs to another family. She is literally whisked away by the bridegroom and his family. As her family cries copiously. Parents tell her that now she belongs to her new family and she should respect and obey them, and always put them first, and not her own family
The wedding itself is a lavish affair. Reputations are made or lost on how you organise the ceremony. Relatives and friends you have never heard of turn up on the day and expect to be entertained and fed. It is customary to come across strangers, but protocol demands that you never ask a guest, self invited or otherwise if they have an invitation. In case they are from the grooms side and are offended!
The bride is kept in a separate room for about three days in a separate room, where she has all sorts of pampering. Her skin is rubbed with turmeric, to clarify and soften it. Then she is bathed with water which has been infused with special leaves and flowers. Henna applied to her hands and feet. The wedding dress is red and copious amount of jewellery and make up heaped on her. She is expected to sit bowed and covered throughout the ceremony. And departs after surrounded by sobbing family of her own, and the triumphant in laws. The rituals go on for days afterwards.
I find I have to modify my thinking and what I say to my children. Sometime I probably come across as quite alien to them. But I have the desire and the capacity to change, learn and adopt. Am rapidly learning how to be the mother of the bride, the western way!
I will appreciate advise on all aspects, and how to be a good mother of the bride please.