Congratulations Ish and Pritee

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This weekend I was in Kansas City for the marriage of Pritee Phool to Ishwinder Chattha. Both are Sikh, and this marriage was arranged between Ish, of Indian descent, and Pritee, native of Thailand.

BharaatPHOTO: Ish with his mother at the Bharaat.

The festivities began Friday evening with the Bharaat reception at the Doubletree hotel in downtown Kansas City. Ish was attired and prepared at his family's house (in a ceremony called the Sehra Bandi) before he, family, and friends arrived at the Bharaat, led by fanfare and music. The bride's family organizes the Bharaat as the formal greeting of the groom's family. The bride's family provides lots of food, singing, dancing, and other entertainment after greeting the groom with the traditional garlands.

The wedding ceremony itself - the Anand Karaj - took place at the Gurudwara (Sikh Temple) in Kansas City.

Anand KarajPHOTO:Ish and Pritee during Anand Karaj

Most of the ceremony - the name of which means "Ceremony of Bliss" - was conducted in Panjabi, and the celebrants and guests sat on the floor as is customary. Immediately following the ceremony, the traditional temple lunch took place. This meal - the Langar - is served in the temple Langar hall, and consists of vegetarian cuisine served to everyone sitting on the floor, as equals.

And the picture you've all been waiting to see:

TurbanPHOTO: Traditional Indian garb with Punjab turban

Ish provided me with a traditional Indian outfit to wear during the Anand Karaj. Also, Sikh tradition requires, along with the removal of shoes before entering the temple, that everyone cover the head during prayers or when entering the temple. So, Ish's brother-in-law was kind enough to provide me with a traditional Punjab-style turban.

Following Langar, the married couple greeted family and friends outside the Gurudwara.

Ish and PriteePHOTO:Ish and Pritee after the Anand Karaj

During the weekend, as my friend noted, we were impressed with just how much the Sikh wedding is not just the joining of a husband and wife, but the union of two families.

The wedding reception followed that evening at Club 1000 in downtown Kansas City. More traditional food, along with more entertainment, speeches, dancing, and a cake-cutting ceremony were all part of the celebration.

Congratulations, Ish and Pritee, and thank you for the opportunity to share this experience with you and your families.

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