To open, I want to quotethe mother of the bride when one American bride’s maid said to the bride “I love your culture, its so colorful, interesting, and fun!” The mother chimed in and said “Its My culture, not her’s, she was raised American” she said so proudly. And she is right, not just her, but any parent born in another country that fiercely held on to their strong traditions, that is what makes the world more fun. The bride’s accent and attitude was so much more “Western” (American) than one in this industry would normally see. Sure, Americans are fun, but its because we all came from somewhere else and we carry not just the great privilege of being American, but also because we bring all the colors of the world and our ethnicities to what is ultimately America today.
There are so many things I love about the Indian culture. It would include the music, movies, colorful costumes, and of course the food. While there are formalities, just as with any wedding, even the ceremony is more humorous and casual. What I like is the Barat, that caters to the groom, rather being all about the bride. Of course its all about the bride, and us males know that, but who says the men cannot have some fun? The groom arrives, traditionally by some grand entrance, horse, donkey, elephant or even on one Million Dollar Platinum Wedding I organized, by helicopter. What is fun is the crowd of family and friends cheering him on as he circles around in a parade like fashion to great Indian music. Its like tailgating, a party before the party.
Indian women are incredibly beautiful, even if they are not so beautiful by traditional terms. For some reason, I am drawn more to the ethnic types than the blonde/blue eyed women that the American culture tries to throw at us. How refreshing that now with a significant Hispanic population we see more women of darker skin/eyes who are put in major roles and model. Being Italian, culture is taught at a very early age, and the great thing is, you soon learn to appreciate all cultures when you are raised with tradition. While you love and embrace your own, you value the varieties of others around you.
The dress attire of the Indian women is so sexy without being indiscreet. Women have the option to wear colorful long loose skirts and halter top with the option of covering their midriff with a scarf, or not. It shows off their curves, even some skin, but never would anyone every say that its trashy or inappropriate even if the navel is showing. Its elegant, sexy and classy all at the same time, and at no time is it considered in-appropriate. What can you not love about that? So, after a traditional ceremony, they change into their “Western” clothes. For the man a tuxedo, for the female a white bridal gown. But this is only one more thing I love, they connect with their traditional roots but do not appose their “Westernization” whether from the UK or USA, they embrace it. Besides, what woman does not love a costume change between scenes? I admire the fact that while their culture and traditions were attempted to be westernized, they still hold true to their roots. What is wrong with holding on to the colorful and fun festivities of your ancestors while also embracing the better life a new culture has brought you? The fact that they recognize both speaks volumes. It is so easy to say that you are this or that or the other and cling to it and not invite any other traditions into your life, but the Indian people invite every one in and partake in all the traditions of those in the area of which they live.
The only way for me to describe the dancing in American terms is what the movie Grease was to us (re-inacting scenarios through dance and music), that is what Bollywood is to Indian weddings — everyone knows the dance, knows the music, knows the moves. While few Americans may only know the Grease soundtrack or YMCA, Indians know every song from every movie it seems.
Indians are very warm, gracious people who openly invite you into their culture and homes. While there are other cultures that are similar in spirit (like the Italians) for some reason, the Indians seem especially gracious.