Where did that desi wedding magic go?

Published: November 28, 2011

I long for the traditional wedding where brides were shy and mehndis were a female only event. PHOTO: AFP

Pakistani weddings are high on my list of reasons I would like to move back to Pakistan. Unlike some of my other ex-pat friends who went to a wedding when they were four-years-old and don’t remember any of it, thanks to desi family traditions I have gone to a gazillion weddings and enjoyed them to my heart’s content.

From dance practices to assigning the least attractive jora (outfit) to the valima I love it all. Thinking back to a wedding I attended a couple weeks ago, however, I found myself yearning for the old-fashioned weddings with all the quaint traditions. And so, I compiled a list of things about modern Pakistani weddings that I find rather uninviting.


Men at the mehndi: The growing trend of the non-segregated mehndi has left me rather perturbed. Yes, I know we are modern and progressive and mixing of genders isn’t a big deal any more, but isn’t the mehndi supposed to be a women only event? Being open-minded doesn’t have to come at the cost of losing gender cliques. I wouldn’t invite any male friends to my bachelorette – why should I invite them to my mehndi?

English songs at a mehndi: This has to be my most irksome pet peeve ever. It’s a mehndi for crying out loud – it is meant to be a traditional Pakistani event. Why must we drag the West in to our most beautiful Pakistani tradition? I want to see cultural dances, bhangra and luddian and not your aerobic moves to rap tunes by Jay Z or Lil’ Wayne or songs about being intoxicated.

You still want to grove to this kind of music? Just go clubbing, and don’t bring the club to a mehndi.

What happened to the good old tappe? When I was a child, women of my mother’s age used to sit by the dholak and sing tappe. Only a few people would know all the songs by heart; the rest would serve as sahelian (friends), knowing the chorus and consulting paper photocopies after the first couplet.

Now, that generation has grown old and has handed the reins to my generation – the generation that can’t even handle the spoon let alone the dholak. We don’t know the songs at all, the paper copies passed down to us are useless because we can’t read Urdu; and having songs in Roman Urdu is futile since we don’t know the chorus either.

Here is a tip to fellow females – put the songs on your playlist a week in advance. You will make your mothers proud.


Where’s the stampede? Where is the zeal? Parents and siblings are the closest family members, but it’s a desi wedding. Your relatives also spent countless hours fine-tuning everything for your big day. Walk into the hall with your entire khandaan (family) and be proud of it. If you enter with two people from a chordarwaza (back-door) I refuse to turn my head to acknowledge your arrival.

Photo shoots: I love that dialogue from the movie 27 dresses – the best moment of the wedding is when the groom sees his bride. However, in desi weddings where the photo shoot precedes the wedding, the groom has already had a good look. I feel cheated knowing he has already seen his bride and this just dampens the magic.

Metrosexual men: If you have been to enough Pakistani weddings you will know why I giggle every time I see the groom. Enter the elegant groom in a sherwani with the perfectly shaped eye brows. Dude! You are supposed to be a hunk who will sweep his bride off to a life of eternal bliss. However, when I see the perfectly shaped eyebrows, manicured toenails, and the supple hands that speak of a recent massage, I feel like the all the bride and groom will be talking about is face whitening treatments.

The bold bride: I do understand that you are a career woman and probably helped your parents pay for part of the wedding. You know your groom well and are confident about your future. But a little shyness wouldn’t hurt you.

Must you smoke sheesha at the mehndi while your friends are dancing?

Must you hoot when your mother takes the stage?

Must you cuddle with your husband right there before even being rukhsati?  

Speaking of the rukhsati, how can a bride not cry at her at this heart-breaking moment?

Your make-up won’t run thanks to modern water-proof mascara; show a little gratitude to your parents and shed a few tears!


Amrita Yasin

Amrita has completed her bachelors in chemical engineering from University of Waterloo, Canada. She is taking some art courses for fun in Pakistan, and enjoying her time off before going back for graduate studies.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Yggr

    haha nice piece, reminds me of the good old days when we used to gather around the tv for the “movie” of the wedding we missed being expats.Recommend

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=647842094 The Reader

    Hey while I agree with your expectations of how a traditional wedding should be, I wonder the kind of weddings you’ve been attending lately. Slow down girl, slow down! We still have exactly the type of weddings you are longing for. If you had written this blog just a week back, I’d have invited you to my sister’s wedding and let you see the real traditional, mehndi-scented, gajra-fragrant, paranda-swinging and khussa-wearing wedding where brides are still shy and cry despite heavy make up.Recommend

  • Hmmm

    What about the picture in your story?Recommend

  • avantika

    but you play bollywood music at paki wedding ! why even play that ? and the picture put up earlier ( now changed ) was also of an indian bride. Recommend

  • umm, okay!

    Absolute waste of time :)Recommend

  • RH

    This is like reverse orientalism. Sitting pretty in some foreign country and wanting everyone to conform to your romanticised expectations. “Pakistani weddings are high on my list of reasons I would like to move back to Pakistan.” Recommend

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=647842094 The Reader

    Avantkia, you’re getting offended as though it was your wedding picture that ET secretly stole. :P Also, can we please cut the Indian-songs-being-played-at-Pakistani-weddings blame? If Persian was spoken in Pakistan, we’d have reveled in Persian music and art too. It’s just that same language is understood on both sides of the border and the population, thanks to India, is sky-high in this region. And also if you want to start the blame game then get ready for Indians-are-the-copycats invective, thank you.:)Recommend

  • Leila Rage

    A part from the fact that the entire blog is perfectly pointless and stupid, it also reveals what a typically interferring person the writer is. In the first place, its up to the bride and groom what sort of wedding they want. If they want songs in english at the mehndi, why does that bug you? It isnt your wedding! And its utterly stupid to complain that women no longer cry at the rukhsati. I mean , oh God, the crying is the worst part. All teh weddings ive attended have brides crying at the mehyndi, nikah and the rukhsati. I mean get a FRIP, you’re getting married not dying. Weddings are supposed to be celebration not “heart-breaking” events.Recommend

  • Mrs K

    Lol, hilarious. Being an expat, indeed my last real desi wedding was when I was maybe 7. That is until my bro decided to marry my mammu’s daughter, so after 20years, we went all to Pak couple of months back for the wedding…..and boy was i surprised…it was just as you described.My bhabi didnt even shed a tear at rukhsati…well understandable, since now she is coming to Germany and will have an awesome life:-p Recommend

  • Mustafa Moiz

    Get over it.Recommend

  • Mustafa Moiz

    Get over it, expat.Recommend

  • http://islamabad Maryam

    oo how agree with everything!

    crying at the time of the rukhsati is the grace of the bride.

    plus we never went for a shoot together at barat , exactly ur point , the charm of seeing the bride is totally lost if u have the shoot before and talk talk n dicuss everything pehlay hi…Recommend

  • MK

    lol. yes, things have changed. shadis have become very very modern. the biggest jolt for me, was seeing a bunch of guys dance at this song on a mehndi: ‘Tonight’ by Enrique :P (the clean version)…Recommend

  • Abdullah

    i likeRecommend

  • suneeta


    Don’t be petty.Recommend

  • mariya

    well, i do agree with some of ur points like missing singing songs on the dholak and the bride being shy, atleast a bit on the mehndi n baraat but the rest of it, i dont think im with u on all that. wot difference does it make that the songs r english? we dance to bollywood songs so it doesnt make our mehndis any less pakistani, does it? so wots the issue with english? the point is to hav fun, be it dances on english songs, urdu, hindi, punjabi or wotever!!!

    and crying at the ruksati………….hmm well, its not necessary that it happens u know. when it was time for my ruksati, i was so bloody nervous (btw nervousness makes me laff like crazy or cry like hell) that i had my badeesi out. all my pics hav me smiling with my teeth showing at ruksati……..everyone says ur such a happy bride! more than happy, i was bloody nervous man!!!! so crying is sooooooooo not essential, makeup bhi tou kharab ho jaye ga :)

    so babe, relax and enjoy the desi wedding scene coz its not all that modern as yet……:)Recommend

  • http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/author/430/faraz-talat/ Faraz Talat

    On your own wedding day, you can have all the dholak and henna you want, followed by the ceremonious wailing that you think a bride is “supposed to do”.

    And let others have their weddings according to their own cultural preferences which may not be in line with yours!

    There’s no wrong way to hold a wedding (except maybe a shotgun wedding). You just do whatever pleases you.Recommend

  • Madiha Nawaz

    And I also wonder what ever happened to the old tradition of sending proposals and asking for marriage? Recommend

  • girly

    @The Reader:
    Indians can never be copy cats.Indians are the most original lot.!! If you google wikipedia you will find that mehndi and bangles are of indian origin and custom.Very much a part of hindu culture..So..when it comes to originals versus duplicates we know where the duplicates are.!!!Recommend

  • http://farhansdiary.wordpress.com Farhan Nadeem

    I read in my history books that the Red Indians were the first dwellers of the Island. Since when did they change? why? i want the traditional red indian dress! accept it, the world has changed. Recommend

  • Bobster

    Dear Miss Amrita Yasin:

    First of all i would like to clear one thing that MEHNDI is not a traditional PAKISTANI event .
    2nd before you write a peice on pakistan tradition kindly do some research on what exactly is Pakistani tradition cause the tradition your talking about is heavily borrowed from our neighbours and rest if borrowed from our saat samunder paar neighbor so come to think of it . we dont exactly have any culture or tradition that we can call our own .

    3rd and the most important one : FIND YOUR REAL ROOTS !Recommend

  • geez

    this is the most close minded piece of garbage i’ve read in a while. Recommend

  • farah qadeer

    loved it!!!well written piece :)Recommend

  • Afghan

    Wouldn’t Pakistanis do well to just admit that much of their culture is the same as Indian culture? We Afghans have less in common with Indians yet we like them and do not pretend that all of our traditions are so different from theirs. Indian movie stars and music are huge in Afghanistan and among the Afghan expat communities. We can be proud of being Afghan and still appreciate that India is a cultural powerhouse in terms of music, movies, and fashion.

    Rather than pretending that Pakistanis are Arabs and ruining your mixed culture which is so beautiful, you should appreciate all sides. I find that Pakistanis abroad spend too much time trying to get their children to socialize with Arab kids and not Indian or even other Pakistani kids and then when the Arabs are fascinated by their weddings they claim them to be “purely Pakistani”. Give me a break and grow up please.Recommend

  • amna

    at least the ppl debating over it remember abt the desi weedings!Recommend

  • Gul

    This article brought a smile on my face :) Come to Peshawar we still have weddings like the ones you miss at least most of the time!! :)Recommend

  • Sana

    Amrita Yasin,

    i totally agree with the part where the bride needs to cry. these days, the daughters are happy to be leaving their parents home and my cousin who got married last year and was supposed to move abroad.. did not shed one tear!!! I felt sad for my aunt!!!

    and the Mehndi and Dholki is not our tradition, out Islamic tradition is only Nikah and Walima.
    the Ruksati and Dholki and all that jazz is just a show off thing.

    cheers! :)Recommend

  • miss

    Speaking about urdu… Why don’t you start writing for an urdu blog instead? Everything you’ve just written kindly translate it into urdu and then post it and only then write your views urdu songs not being played on our weddings! And stop critisizing your own people, rather be appreciative about the new trends our people are following. Recommend

  • http://syedaabidabokhari.wordpress.com The Only Normal Person Here.
  • http://ruff miss

    Speaking about urdu.. Why don’t you start writing your blogs in urdu instead?? Recommend

  • Soph Khan

    Nice article. Agree with everything esp men at mehndi and the bold bride!! I dont understand people dissing her. She’s just giving her opinion what’s the big deal! And this article is sooo much better than all that I’m a lesbian/gay poor old me crap ET has been publishing Recommend

  • rizvi

    Everyone in Pakistan knows how to read Urdu, so your argument of

    * We don’t know the songs at all, the paper copies passed down to us are useless because we can’t read Urdu; and having songs in Roman Urdu is futile since we don’t know the chorus either.* is null and void.

    And if you don’t know how to read Urdu, then you should not be writing this blog.Recommend

  • anna

    When was the mendhi ever just ladies only? i think you need to get your facts right :)Recommend

  • Amjad

    @The Reader: I think you miss the point. I personally hate it when Pakistani people play Indian Bollywood songs at mehndis and functions. They might as well play western music or chinese music. If you feel that mehndis are a chance for Pakistani people to enjoy their own culture, why should people play foreign music? I prefer English music to Indian music if we have to listen to foreign music. At least English is one of the official languages of Pakistan. Hindi isn’t.Recommend

  • A Guy

    Ugh… u’ve reminded me why I hate weddings. To me marrying the girl is what matters, I could do without the rest.

    IA, I don’t mind paying whatever amount is required to make it memorable for the lady. But God I wish I had a fast forward button, its going to be some real annoying couple of days. Recommend

  • Red

    Leave weddings to the bride and groom. It’s their day and it should be exactly as they want it! Also, I disagree with the whole bride crying part. Zabardasti hai? Let her express herself however she wants to. And I kind of like mixed mehndis…they have the whole us vs them thing going with the songs and the dances which is the best part!Recommend

  • Movie

    Breathless bored me. On the other hand, it’s vastly superior to Sympathy for the Devil, one of two contenders for Worst Movie Ever Made. (The other, as it happens, is by Woody Allen: Interiors.)I like the Golden Age of Woody Allen movies: Sleeper, Bananas, etc. He can be pretty funny when he doesn’t weight his movies down with a lot of tiresome pseudo-profundity.Edit: and you want obscure? Try Alex Cox’s adaptation of the Revenger’s Tragedy (Christopher Eccleston was born to play Vindici). Or even more obscure, his adaptation of Death & the Compass (Borges). Both are combinations of self-indulgence & pure genius on a shoestring budget; YMMV on where the balance lies. Harry potterRecommend

  • Movie

    I enjoyed laughing loudly in the cinema while watching this movie. It makes you put the troubles behind your head and just laugh. Nice one. Harry potterRecommend

  • Nandita.

    I don’t understand the whole ” brides-need-to-cry ” business. Why do people expect her to cry ? someone has commented ” she did not shed one tear . i felt sad for my aunt ” i mean, come on people ! Just because she didn’t cry , it does not mean that she wont miss her parents. It does not mean that she doesnt love her parents. I didnt cry at my wedding ! I had been living away from home anyways for work. I miss my mom and i love her more than life itself but i didnt shed even one tear. And that does not make me hard hearted or bold or whatever other words people use for girls who dont bawl at their weddings.

    Has the world really come to a point where we are going to judge people on the basis of the amount of tears shed at weddings ? Just live and let live. Recommend

  • Maria

    @girly: What is so tiresome is that Indians forget that they really have no culture of their own except from stuff they have stolen from their neighbours. As for Henna or so called Mehndi, I have been told off by many a Somalian that Henna and the practice of Henna comes from mother Africa from where it spread to many other parts of the world, including South Asia. It really bothers Somalis that Indians pretend that Henna is from India when it is actually an African custom that was transported to other parts of the world.Maybe we all need to give mother Africa the respect it deserves- it is the cradle of all civlization!Recommend

  • sajid

    Well very few Pakistani weddings are like this. Most weddings are still seggregated, don’t play any songs let alone english ones, and in 98% of the cases groom and bride know nothing about each other.
    There is a growing trend amongst some middle class families in Pakistan of not even having mehndis because they are a hindu tradition and unislamic.

    Plus this line “Must you cuddle with your husband right there before even being rukhsati?” had me cracking up with laughter. You sure have not been to a lot of Pakistani weddings otherwise you would have known bride and groom don’t even look at each other let alone cuddle.Recommend

  • zehra

    see a lot depends on the type of weddin you go to, if you are talking about a totally elite class the observations can be true however if you go an average wedding you will still see the gajras, khussas, luddi he jamalo, and dheka na tha being sung with the same vigor.
    As for the behaviour of the bride ,well as the people have changed, so will the bride and groom. girls are getting more independent, more grounded. it is their day it should be a memorable for them as well as a comfortable one. if they are having fun in their wedding then let them, why should they miss out on the fun by sittingi n the corner with head down? bride groom hugging is not as common as you make out, it depends on alot of other factors.

    As for english tracks or indian tracks, you actually play the songs that are popular, and music for me has no boundary. i an good listening to zeb and hanyia to chamak chalo , to rihannas rap! face it pakistani pop realy doesnt make very good dancing steps and indian music, films dramas are a part of our lives whether you like it or not. there is no fixed tradition of pakistan, most of it is carried form the indian ancestors and i dnt see any harm in that. and please islamic culture and pakistani culture is not the same!!

    i feel that it is actualyl written by visitng just a wedding as the majority of the weddings in pakistan are pretty much what you like Recommend

  • http://www.usmanfarooq.com Usman Farooq

    why do people seem to miss the old days!!! grow up because its high time things need to change and as for the “Desi Wedding” that time wont be coming back because of the conditions in our country…. People are afraid of having any ‘halla gulla’. Recommend

  • Vigilant

    @Author….Good Article but you explained Wedding of Ultra Elite Class of Pakistan….otherwise Pakistani wedding are simple & traditional as we can imagine…..& you forget to mention baraat preparation, firecrackers, Sehra-bandi, Mayun & display of dowry.

    Men should not be banned from mehndi…..how we can see beautiful hands decorated with mehndi & designs…..it’s such a beautiful sight…..part of our culture….

    Though “BOLD BRIDES” is right on the spot….. :)

    @The Reader…..Well said…..agree with u
    @Ms Rage……you are commenting without considering the motive of blog….it’s about culture at Pakistani Weddings not freedom of choice….
    @Girly…..”Indian cannot be copy cats”……it is most funny comment i ever read…..
    @Maria….Good answerRecommend

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=647842094 The Reader

    There is no denying that India has a rich culture of its own but at the same time you cannot deny that India copy-pastes other cultures and their attractiveness and shows them off it as hers at a lightening-fast speed. Man, this is impressive or what? No plagiarism check in your country? :)

    I know where you are coming from and I kinda agree with you. We have rich Pakistani music base of different genres, we can easily make our weddings successful by playing just that.

    @Vigilant, thank you.Recommend

  • yuti

    @the reader – we copy other cultures ? ” India copy-pastes other cultures and their attractiveness and shows them off it as hers at a lightening-fast pace “
    Normally, i would never get into such useless debates, but i am really curious to know what cultures india copies and then tries to show it off as her own. I know some muscians have copied songs but cultures ? Recommend

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=647842094 The Reader

    Okay, let’s narrow down my term to your music industry and Bollywood because that’s our major source of information about what’s going on in your part of the world. Your Music and Movie content is highly plagiarized. But since ‘you don’t get into such useless debates’ and my point is not mudslinging, let’s start and finish it right here.

    A few references though, read mariya’s comment about Henna, then you will recall that most of your Hindi feature films are actually in Urdu so again that’s our language hijacked and presented as yours.Recommend

  • yuti

    @the reader – mehndi is a very hindu tradition .. as a commentor mentioned before – goggle it .. or visit wikipedia. and indian movies are in hindi ! your accusation is so ridiculous ! Too bad hindi and urdu are similar…

    and urdu is spoken by muslims of india too btw. and There are more muslims in INDIA than pakistan and as far as i know urdu was taken to pakistan by the people you guys call ” muhajir ” – urdu was taken to pakistan by the muslims who migrated there.
    This is what wikipedia says abt urdu ” It began to take shape in what is now Uttar Pradesh, India during the Delhi Sultanate (1206–1527), and continued to develop under the Mughal Empire (1526–1858). Standard Urdu is mutually intelligible with Standard Hindi. Both languages share the same Indic base and are so similar in phonology and grammar that they appear to be one language.[5] The combined population of Hindi and Urdu speakers is the fourth largest in the world.[6]”Recommend

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=647842094 The Reader

    I am talking about Urdu being the official language of Pakistan and portrayed as Hindi language at international front by Bollywood. Wikipedia is the not the ultimate source. Urdu and Hindi are two very different languages. Your National TV Channel Doordarshan tells me.Recommend

  • Baba Ji

    Good one … Shabaash !!!!!

    and the amount of dough spent on these weddings is exuberant … the gap between have and have nots is widening at a drastic pace and it is actually very very alarming !!! it is more of a show baazi and less of the actual spirit of the occasion ….Recommend

  • Leila Rage

    @vigilant: Yes, I know its about Pakistani culture, and of course we should preserve our culture. But at the same time, so what if some people don’t want a typical traditional wedding? Whats so wrong with that? Recommend

  • Huzaifa

    Why don’t you do all this at your own wedding function? :PRecommend

  • yuti

    @the reader – The language used in bollywood is hindi. Can’t believe someone can contest that ! Read my earlier comment please. Recommend

  • Sanjeev

    Brides dont cry, bcoz now a days they have access to mobile, internet and can communicate with their loved ones, long distances get covered in hours if they need to be physically present, so they dont feel the urge of being away and dont cry for the same.Recommend

  • AL

    My brothers wedding was the sort you talk about – the traditional desi wedding! we entered the hall with some 60 guests ( not exaggerating!) and we had some 40 people staying over at our place :)
    so yes, i love desi weddings!!Recommend

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=647842094 The Reader
  • Nandita.

    @Sanjeev – lol. i laughed so much when i read your comment ! What you say is completely true ! “Brides dont cry, bcoz now a days they have access to mobile, internet and can communicate with their loved ones, long distances get covered in hours if they need to be physically present,” You nailed it bro ! Recommend

  • yuti

    @the reader – i’d rather rely on my knowledge and wikipedia ( which to me is more credible
    ) . Not yahoo question and answers. Recommend

  • Hira Z

    Best article about wedding do far…I too miss tappe and some sharam haye in shadiis yarRecommend

  • http://www.hafsahmad.wordpress.com Hafsa A. Sial

    hear, hear!Recommend

  • Babar Saleem

    likes it – thumbs up – :)
    today’s generation is prone to complexes.Recommend

  • Keen Observer

    hahaha. couldn’t agree more. in my family we don’t have dances in mehndis because our elders don’t approve. so our mehndis are still pretty much about dholaks and no make-up on the dulhan- face covered with a ‘ghoonghat’, and i honestly love it that way =). When I tell my friends about this, they go all – whatt, haww, how is a mehndi even fun without dances! lol.Recommend

  • Haroon Rashid

    And…you cant read or write Urdu? …Right then?Recommend

  • http://peddarowdy.wordpress.com/ Anoop


    Basant, usage of a particular pattern of flowers, the bridal wear, the singing at the weddings all have an Indian stamp over it.

    Yes, other Cultures too may have few of the attributes, for example music at weddings, but all this put together, the concoction is purely Indian.

    In fact, a Pakistani Muslim marriage resembles a Hindu Marriage in North of India, than a Hindu Marriage in the South. Where the Music is completely different.

    Face it, you know very little of India to even talk about it.

    India has thousands of Culture embedded in it. India is the only Country where you will find dozens of successful Movie Industries(when Pakistan struggles to maintain even one), dozens of Music styles(Hindustani, Carnatic,etc.), dozens of Dance styles(Kathak, Bharatnatyam, Yakshagana, now Bollywood type dancing,etc.), 22 officially recognized languages and thousands,yes thousands, of dialects.

    Had you even heard of the cultural traits I mentioned above? To a Pakistani the only window to India is Bollywood(which represents a very small minority of India) and the canards that their elders and peers tell them.Recommend

  • http://peddarowdy.wordpress.com/ Anoop


    I researched a topic a little bit and nowhere is it mentioned that it originated anywhere apart from Asia.


    One of the sites which talk about the History of Henna says this:

    “The use of henna in the 4th-5th centuries in the Deccan of western India is clearly illustrated on Bodhisattvas and deities of the cave wall murals at Ajanta , and in similar cave paintings on Sri Lanka . The context of these gorgeous murals indicates a ritual use quite sophisticated, and withou doubt very ancient. We have already shown how this sacred tradition developed.”

    This hard evidence proves henna usage in India seven centuries before the Moghul invasion, and a couple hundred years before the inception of the Islamic religion. There is no doubt the Turkic Moghuls practiced mehndi enthusiastically in the Punjab. They may have adopted the use of mehndi when they were converted to the Muslim religion in Western Turkestan, or they may have taken it up upon their arrival in India. But the ritual use of henna is vastly older than Islam, which began in the mid-7th century AD. It was one of the few ancient Goddess customs which they allowed to continue to exist.”Recommend

  • Dante

    You are free not to call any men to your mehndi. Doesn’t mean every wedding has to be the way you want to endorse it.Recommend

  • Maria

    @yuti: The last time I checked Henna was officially discovered to be an African origin tradition that spread to other peoples like the Arabs and people in South Asia. Specifically I learned Henna comes from the Horn of Africa. Or do you believe that Africans stole it from India? Get real- we all know that African civilization in the Horn of Africa is much older.Recommend

  • girly

    Mehndi (Hindi:मेहँदी) or menhdi is the application of henna as a temporary form of skin decoration in India, as well as by expatriate communities from the country. The word mehndi is derived from the Sanskrit word mendhikā.[1] The use of mehndi and turmeric is described in the earliest Vedic ritual books. Haldi(Staining oneself with turmeric paste) as well as mehndi are important Vedic customs as a symbolic representation of the Outer and the Inner Sun. Vedic customs are meant to awaken the “inner light” and so the gold of the inner Sun has an important symbolic function.(wikipedia)Recommend

  • yuti

    Pls read girly and anoop’s comment. It’s ok. We don’t mind if you follow indian customs. :) Recommend

  • http://peddarowdy.wordpress.com/ Anoop


    Many of the Africans have embraced Christianity or Islam. That doesn’t mean they originated there and has been since Human Civilization.

    India has a recorded history of over 5000 years and unrecorded one is much older. Traders and travelers used to travel to India’s shores to enjoy the riches and its culture. Columbus discovered America in his search for, which else, India. Any one of such travelers, adventurers or traders could have taken that trait to Africa.

    Just like India gave the World the number Zero, without which the world as we know it could not have existed, just like Indians knew of the Atom known as “Annu” which the world discovered centuries later, just like the Indians invented Chess(A Game which tests the wits like no other), there is a very good chance that India started the tradition of Henna.

    Why is it so hard to accept that something so very Pakistani is in fact Indian?Recommend

  • Khan

    Weddings should about the bride and groom. Bas. No one else. Even now in Pakistan weddings are about everyone other than the two people getting married. In fact you could have two monkeys on the stage and the whole wedding would go exactly as they usually do. I also wish weddings would be less standardized. I mean, close your eyes. There’s the mayon, mehndi, the dancing, the dholki, the joota choorai, the boring walima, the bland chicken saalen. If one has to go to the many weddings in one season it’s torture. Can’t the mehndi have the jotta churai or can’t people start dancing on the walima. At least something to break the tedium. Recommend

  • 1111

    awesomee………. nostalgiaRecommend

  • Amjad

    Sorry guys- I agree with Maria- Henna or so called Mehndi comes from Africa. It is older than Hinduism or Islam or any other religion. It’s just a part of traditional African culture.Recommend

  • http://facebook.com/simplify.pakistan simplify

    Aside from slight cultural modifications weddings are still mega events in the society. Infact weddings are just getting grander and more expensive day by day. Maybe we can also move towards simplification of these events ,borrowing from western culture. There needs to be some sort of cutting down of expenditures.Recommend

  • Surprised

    how lovely the article was just to provoke some nostalgia… and enjoy…. i don,t agree with the writer’s each and every point but still i loved the piece and Surprised I am on the comments speifically made by Indian readers
    if you have such a rich culture why r u so insecure abt it….??? how funny it is to find someone fighting over a plant’s ownership which gives color while on the other hand whenevr you meet an indian you ll find them caliming that we two countries r one,, we have same cultures we have same origins, same language…. (the only rehtoric they have to prove the exsitance of Pakistan as wrong) and now this is another face which is their own but still they can’t see it… look what one have written:
    “Indians can never be copy cats.Indians are the most original lot.!! If you google wikipedia you will find that mehndi and bangles are of indian origin and custom.Very much a part of hindu culture..So..when it comes to originals versus duplicates we know where the duplicates are”*
    My dear Indian friend: as you state that *”mehndi and bangles are of indian origin and custom.Very much a part of hindu culture
    .” are you refering that Muslims living in present india r not Indians????
    I don’t want to point out the billion of ‘The Bollywood’ songs that r copied from Pakistani and world music…. yes, Dear Pakistani Music… yes, you r oblivious of this fact because your goverment is coward enough to not to show even a single of our television channels so that you would know what our Drama and music really is… and about the above statment I am totally unable to understand why so openminded and tolerate hindus have to mention muslims *their identical brothers (which they love to mention that r much more in population as compared to the Pakistani Muslims) as duplicates…
    before making such statments i wish you study more from reliable books and less from wikipedia and learn the science of amalgamation of cultures and how they get shaped when diverse population is living together in one society. how much you’ll research on the originality dear? you don’t even yourself know that how many things you have adopted from muslims… see it always come back to religion… though they hate to admit it… when it comes to the creation of Pakistan…
    anyway, and about Language,,, dear!! don’t please solely rely on wikipedia… and search some books ask your Muslim and Hindu teachers both what was “parkarat” what was “burj bhasha” what is “Sanskrit” and what is “Hindi” and “Urdu”.. where is the influence of Persian and Arabic (both muslim languages) …. you will come on the conclusion after thorough unbiased research that it is URDU that is spoken in hindi movies :P :PRecommend

  • Sarah Farooq

    very well-written and its actually true. we have moved from all those conventional ways to a very modern fairy-tale weddings. the best part is when u said, “I feel like the all the bride and groom will be talking about is face whitening treatments.” and i think it wil be true for all soon!Recommend

  • Mahi

    Excuse me,what has music and fashion ANYTHING to do with traditions and culture here?and mind you WE are different from India in terms of cultures and customs no matter even if we follow the same fashion trends,also I guess YOU Afganies need to concentrate on your country’s current situations,since we genuinely DON’T wish to let accommodate more refugees from Afganitan.
    @ author wonderful post up there,nothing can beat a desi wedding.Recommend

  • Mahi

    @Sarah Farooq:
    We haven’t moved Hun,desi weddings in any part of the world is just as the writer described above.Recommend

  • Faiza Khan


  • Sarah Farooq

    Mahi, we have. not completely but still we have. the brides arent shy anymore.they dont even shed a tear. we play english songs. its all true. however, it has nothing to do with conventions but its just how our lifestyles have changed and similary effected our attitude and responses to certain things. so in turn it actually diverges from past trends.

    so whatever the writter has said is true. the magic is lost indeed. but then again we all love the new trend and keep pace with the things that are happening around. so ya, weddings before are different from what they are now.Recommend

  • Mahi

    @Sarah Farooq: Okay,yea i understand where you come from,but i beg to differ again i’ve attended quite a few weddings here(both elite class and middle class)it’s still the same,the tappe,dholki,gajre everything is still there.
    @Faiza Khan:
    What is so funny?:sRecommend

  • Sarah Farooq

    wedding before were*

    ok, i get what you are trying to say too. its just that i think things have changed over time but of course these traditions don’t change overnight so we simply cant ignore them like that. however all i am trying to say is that i agree with what the writer has felt/seen.Recommend

  • Mahi

    @Sarah Farooq:
    LOL I didn’t notice your typos,anyways yes I agree with you now,things have changed quite A LOT but still see the traditional weddings in Pakistan,even UK for that matter.Recommend

  • from India

    Pakistani Muslims should marry like Arabs. No mehendi, no bollywood song :PRecommend

  • http://www.facebook.com/simplify.pakistan simplify

    @Baba Ji:
    i agree- overspending is uncalled for Recommend

  • girly


    Indian muslims cannot be anybody else other than Indians and thats what they would rather be!!ISince the basic religion of India is hinduism much of the customs followed by chiristians and muslims of India have naturally been influenced by the local customs and practices and rightfully so. Now, if other countries want to imbibe these traditions and cusoms they are welome to, but they are not welcome to take the credit of its origin .As for language, the indian language tamil is the oldest language in the world followed by sanskrit. So if bollywood movies are in “urdu” ,it is to cater to the huge urdu speaking population who watch the movie mostly.If you check “Google Trends” for Bollywood, you would find that the maximum viewers are from Pakistan.Offcourse indians know how to make their money!Recommend