Weddings around the world celebrate present happiness and hope for the future.
The Interfaith Bridging project shares some of the customs of its members at the Interfaith Wedding Celebration event on Friday, with food, fashion, presentations and a silent auction, all in the luxury of wedding centre Durali Villa.
Models wearing a variety of wedding clothes, some of them by Akira Ellen Hanson and Mollie Bono from Molakira’z Designz, will circulate with the guests.
“We make clothes that could be worn by the bride or by guests, using Pendleton blankets or wool fabric with trim in Pendleton designs. We find First Nations and other people are wearing traditional clothing more for special occasions and the coats, vests and scarves for everyday wear. The clothes appeal to people from many cultures. They are one-of-a-kind wearable art,” said Hanson.
Other clothes to be modeled throughout the event include those from Sikh, Muslim, Japanese, Korean and Canadian weddings. Ethnic appetizers will be served and there will be a DVD presentation on traditions. Entertainment will include music and dancing. The secret silent auction (get to bid only once and do not see other bids) has treats like a sari party, ethnic cooking lessons, a Ukrainian Christmas Eve dinner, a Shabbat dinner for six at the synagogue in Kelowna, and much more. Half of the proceeds from the silent auction will go to the local Filipino community, who are raising money for those affected by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.
Committee member Sarah Gabriel, originally from South Sudan, recalled that in her country the people in the cities who are Christians would have weddings with white dresses while in the villages things are more traditional, with bride and groom dressed in colourful clothing and all their friends and family coming to dance to entertain them.
For a Sikh wedding, the groom and his family and friends come to the bride’s home for the ceremony, which include the bride and groom pledging to uphold the four principles of the Sikh faith values in marriage.
“The core of the Anand Karaj (the ‘Blissful ceremony’) is the Lavan, where hymns are sung, with the bride and groom circling the Guru Granth Sahib,” said Harpal Dhillon, who was married in just such a ceremony in India in 1978. “The ceremony serves to provide the foundational principles towards a successful marriage and also places the marriage within the context of unity with God. The four stanzas of the Lavan are to be sung and recited as the core of the ceremony.
“First performed in 1579, the ceremony is now universally observed by the Sikhs.”
The bride traditionally wears a long red skirt, top and scarf. The night before the wedding the women in the family get mehndi (henna) designs on their hands, and the bride gets it done on her hands and feet. Celebrations continue for several days.
The Interfaith Wedding Celebration is a free, family event. There is no child minding but older children can watch videos. There are two sessions available, 5:30 to 7 p.m. or 7:30 to 9 p.m.
“Because this is a wedding celebration, we are asking people to bring gifts, something that would be suitable for a child, woman, man, or family and we will give these to an organization that gives Christmas gifts to people in need,” said Nola Dibski, Interfaith Committee member.
For more information, call Vernon and District Immigrant Services at 250-542-4177.