an Indian bridal shower

My brother, Derek, went to India for a few months in 2011. While he was there, he lived with family friends, Sanjay and Keren and their three daughters, Faith, Grace, and Paige. Fast forward to 2014, and these same family friends now live in Pennsylvania. They wanted to celebrate the upcoming marriage of Derek and Bethany with a traditional Indian shower. So on Saturday evening, they welcomed us into their home for a delicious Indian meal and some pre-wedding Indian traditions.

Sanjay welcomed us, and invited us to celebrate their love for Derek and Bethany with them.

Then Keren explained some of the Indian traditions. (Derek attended one of these wedding showers during his time in India, so he is a little nervous for what's about to happen.)

Friends and family gather a week or so before the wedding. The couple who has been married the longest goes first, painting the bride and groom in a turmeric paste. (If you don't have turmeric in your cupboard, it is a bright yellow spice.) In India, the engaged are painted, head-to-toe. Turmeric paste is slathered everywhere. For this shower, Keren toned it down a bit (or a lot). But in India, Keren said it was an obvious sign to the community when they saw your stained yellow skin that you were getting married!

The family and friends sing and pray blessings over the couple while sprinkling petals and rice on the bride and groom.

I took a quick video of some of the singing.

After the longest married couple completes their painting and sprinkling, the next longest married couple goes. This painting and singing continues - from the longest married couple to the youngest child - until everyone in the room has painted and blessed the couple.

My parents may have enjoyed the painting part a lot.

(But Aaron may have sprinkled some rice down Derek's shirt, whose shirt was tucked in for the rice to travel . . . )

After the painting, it was time for dinner!

I don't remember what any of it was called, but I ate with my fingers (as is how I would eat if I was in India). And thirteen-year-old Faith said I did well. (Thanks, Faith!)

Thank you, Sanjay and Keren (and Faith and Paige (we missed you, Grace!)), for inviting us into your home to celebrate and love on Derek and Bethany in such a fun way!

(And thank you also for the authentic and delicious chai tea. YUM.)