A Wedding is at its purest a celebration of two individuals falling in love and deciding to spend their lives together, choosing one another over the rest of the 7 Billion population on Planet Earth. Its about the intangibles like family – love – support – care and nurturing, as well as the ever growing tangibles of home and hearth. These collectively comprise of the 40 Billion-Dollar-Great-Indian-Wedding Industry. This ever growing (see below links to read three articles delineating this trajectory from 2012, 2013, and 2014) Industry successfully combines romance, fantasy, and glamour, elevating this union of two individuals and two families to a Bollywood-esque standard.
Lights, Camera, Action, are no longer synonymous with a Film set, but are very much part of the Great Indian Wedding Show. Having been occupied with one such wedding over the last few days (hence a lack of posts) as an attendee, I looked at the happiness and joy that surrounded not only the two families, the bride and groom, but every other individual in attendance, and I began to log in my mind what was my favourite part. The hospitality, the togetherness, and the inclusiveness that pervaded this wedding celebration was something I had never before experienced on such an equal – across the board – level. The miles of food, the painted horse and the endless rows of smiling faces were eye-catching, but for me, the experience of dancing in the Baraat, was the highlight, and hence is the focus of this 45 Days of Dance Stories post.
The word Baraat – used across Northern India and Pakistan is the title for the marital procession of the bridegroom. This includes the Groom’s family and friends, musicians, dancers, and can even be comprised of men dressed as women, that are en-route to the Bride’s home for the main wedding ceremony. Dancing, alcohol-consumption and a general air of joviality and celebration are infused in the air.
No doubt, for every individual attending any wedding, there are experiential moments that are unique to that person and embed themselves in one’s heart to be cherished and replayed over the years. For me, at this particular wedding Dancing in the Baraat was that moment. the spontaneous and unguarded movements of all present, the sheer delight and the open heartedness in sharing in the joy of this upcoming union, was euphoric.
In Arabic Ba’arat and in Urdu Baraat have religious connotations that can mean forgiveness, freedom, deliverance and innocence. This connection between the material and the spiritual, between a union of two mortals and the union of Man and God wrapped up in this word – Baraat – is not only unique and ironic, but somewhat apt. Where the act of marrying another is a sort of freedom from the past, a point of deliverance of one’s karma and must be entered into with a level of innocence – that allows both individuals to hold onto the bonds of togetherness, for a present that is filled with love, and a future that is filled with hope.
Looking for more details on the extravagance and showmanship of the Great Indian Wedding, these three articles should provide an insight.