Bangladeshi Wedding Holud

A Bangladeshi wedding consists of several ceremonies. There is hand painting with mendi and other ceremonies which I have not been to yet. But, I got invited to my first Bangladeshi “holud” or pre-wedding party.

The bridal couple on the stage at the Holud.

The Holud can last five or more hours depending on the venue’s closing times. The purpose of the Holud is to celebrate and bless the bridal couple. The bride is often sad on this occasion because this is the evening that she will be leaving her childhood home. A Holud (which is the word for “yellow” in Bangla so I am told) is supposedly the “fun” part of the wedding celebrations. The ladies tend to wear sarees for the Holud. The fashion is often to have one designer design all the clothes for the wedding. For this Holud, the bride’s family were in green, the groom’s family in red, and the bride in yellow. This creates the effect of the colors of the Bangladeshi flag surrounding a shining gold center.

The guests arrive over the course of two hours, eat appetizers (like phoushka – cracked fried dough shells with chickpea filling and chutney), greet family, and find good seats. Then the groom is escorted out onto the stage by his family. The bride is escorted by her family. Then there are songs and speeches (including PowerPoint photo montages). The bridal couple sit on the stage while guests line up in queues on either side. The guests go up on the stage, use the turmeric paste to bless the couple (married people can also then put the paste on their own faces) and feed the couple. Photos are welcome at any point during the evening and are encouraged.

Mild chaos reigns. Families come up. Colleagues come up. Friends come up. Everywhere photo flashes are blitzing and the temperature rises from the press of 300 bodies smiling, photographing, eating, dancing, and celebrating. At some point, the rehearsed dances are performed and dinner is served but mostly people are concerned with going up on the stage, getting their blessings in, and their photos taken. A general feeling of family and love is thick in the air.

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Lovely. Thank you for including me.

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