This Thanksgiving weekend was just so amazing. It was one of the coolest times that I had ever spent with my paternal side of the family. We went to Dallas, TX on November 20 to have a blast at my niece Snigdha’s wedding to her fiancé Gautam. The wedding was scheduled for November 25, 2017. One thing that made it even more amazing for us to go to Dallas was that now, two of my maternal cousins were now living there. So when we went to Snigdha’s wedding, I got to see everyone from my dad’s side of the family and I was finally able to meet one of nephews who I haven’t had a chance to meet yet. my sister was able to see one of our nieces who she last saw when we attended her first birthday.
Telugu weddings like all Desi weddings have many events. And I can tell you that this wedding weekend was packed with many wonderful events. The events that we had were the Pellikuthuru function, the surprise triple twenty-fifth anniversary party, Sangeet/Mehendi/Garba, Kotnam, Wedding, Reception, and an event that Gautam’s family called the Mooh Dikhai.
We had the Pellikuthuru function which is the bride-making ceremony and Snigdha’s Pellikuthuru was an amazing first for me. Since I had gotten married in 2016, Snigdha’s wedding was the first wedding I attended. I was lucky enough to be able to be one of married women who got to anoint the bride with Haldi and do all the rituals that we Telugu peeps do for a Pellikuthuru function. In this wedding ritual at the bride and grooms’ respective houses, there is a gathering of all the relatives and well wishers. They then anoint their skin with a mixture of flours, turmeric powder and oils. This is done to cleanse the skin, so that a natural glow is there. All of us married women did Aarti for Snigdha. Mom and I sang Jaya Jaya Harathi Janaki Devaki. Then it was time for lunch and a quick dance practice.
Little did three wonderful couples in our family know that we had a wonderful surprise for them on Thanksgiving Day. You see everyone in the family was in on this unique surprise party. 2017 was a year of memorable anniversaries in our family. Three of my cousins were celebrating their 25th Wedding Anniversary. Two of these couples live in Dallas and the other couple live in Irvine, California. And all three couples had no clue what we had been planning. You see we were smart and said that Gautam’s family invited us for dinner on Thanksgiving night. That gave us time to get all the preparations done and just get ready to celebrate the love of all three couples. For me, the anniversary plan was just so memorable for me and one of the couples. When I was 4 years old, I was the thodi pellikuthuru for my cousin Sridevi’s wedding to her husband Janardhan and she was behind me the whole time when I got married in 2016.
The next ceremony we had was the Sangeet Party/Mehendi Party where we presented an amazing dance program and whoever that wanted to get Mehendi got it. That night was memorable because the wedding planner ended up getting a nickname of guard dog because of how she was acting. Gautam’s side and our side ended up getting on the dance floor to do some Garba. Everyone that attended loved the bracelet and bindi table. It was fun getting new bindi packets and the bracelets were so beautiful. They were the kind that could double down as both a maang tikka and a bracelet. To tell you, I got one bracelet each for all three of us. Later that night Snigdha’s future mother-in-law came to us and told everyone to take more bindis and bracelets.
After the Sangeet Party we went upstairs to the Presidential Suite and did the Kotnam ceremony. That was another first for me because only married ladies got to do this ritual. It was fun seeing all my nieces watch the Kotnam ceremony. It brought back so many memories of my own wedding events. My poor back hurt when my Vadina’s started pounding me on the back when I was putting pasupu and oil on Snigdha. We sang the Aarti songs.
The next morning was the Pelli and we started off the rituals with the Gauri Pooja. And then it was baraat time. We were patiently waiting to see what Gautam’s side had in mind for the shoe stealing game. The highlight of the wedding was when Snigdha and Gautam were throwing rice at each other. You see Snigdha just picked up the rice bowl and threw the rest of the rice on Gautam’s head. Then after the wedding, everyone had lunch and then we all practiced our dances after changing into comfortable clothes. The reception was amazing and everyone was amazed at our dancing abilities. Our countless hours of dance practice paid off. We all spent the night on the dance floor.
The Mooh Dikhai was a treat to watch because it was the first time that we had ever seen one. This ritual helps to introduce the newlywed bride to members of her husband’s family! Each member of the groom’s family comes in turn to make an acquaintance with the new bride and shower her with gifts. The mother-in-law showers her with jewellery, clothes and money. The other close relatives of the family also offer her gifts and money. She had to hold onto their foot when they were giving her the gifts. Each of her husband’s brothers or cousin brothers picked her up and carried her.