Month: <span>March 2012</span>

Roses are red

Roses are red
Water is wet
We don’t see any thorns, I bet

Me is definitely no poet 😀

roses

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Mucenici

I am a vocal atheist, but at the same time I know a bit about religious traditions around (you can’t be an atheist without being familiar with the religious dogma) and I enjoy some of the traditional food (does it make me a hypocrite?)

Mucenici or Măcinici is a traditional for for the Christian-Orthodox holiday celebrating the 40 martyrs of Sebaste with takes place on 9 March. Is a dessert of two sorts: in Muntenia (south) is like a soup of “8” shaped little pasta, sweetened and traditionally flavoured with cinnamon and walnuts, in modern times we also add for flavour rum essence and lemon or orange peels. In Moldova (north-west), again some “8” shaped bigger dough pieces, baked in the oven, then dipped in honey syrup and flavored with walnuts (those are also called “Saints”)

This year I only had the southern sort, the soup. The pasta was bought from the store, the rest is home-made. Hopefully for the next year I will have some photos with the other one too.

Another tradition for this holiday is to celebrate all the saints, so if there were 40 martyrs dying… you have to drink 40 glasses of wine, one for each saint. Not bad… but way more than I can handle 🙂

And there is yet another tradition: if your name don’t have a patron saint (your given name is not the same as the name of a saint officially celebrated in the religious calendar), then 9 March is your name day. Another opportunity to celebrate, I guess…

mucenici

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Spring/Snowdrops

After I bored everybody with my Indian adventures, is probably the time to breath a bit and celebrate the spring – those little fellows, snowdrops from my garden, appeared a couple of months ago, in the middle of the winter, but the snow buried them. Now they are alive and kicking (well, not exactly those, the flowers in the image were cut and offered as a present, but there are some more in the garden).

snowdrops

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Indian wedding: the feet washing

The very last tradition in the Indian wedding I witnessed, just before the husband and wife are allowed together for the first time it was the ceremony where she had to was his feet. In their culture feet are considered unclean, and doing this is the sign of great humility. A good part of the groom’s family assisted.

And with this the wedding ceremonies ended, it was the time for the photographer to go away 🙂

indian wedding

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Indian wedding: the big night

Finally, two days after ceremony (one of which they were not allowed to even see each other) and after the last reception, the bride and the groom had their first night together. In a special room, with a richly decorated bed. But before that, she was received by her father-in-law.

indian wedding

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Indian wedding: the session

If in the western world the “official” photo session with the bride and the groom is a must and the bride may kill the photographer if she doesn’t get her pictures with the bridal dress, I discovered that some Indian brides are not the same, in this case she didn’t want photos… and made it in the most Indian way, not saying “no” but “yes” and then avoiding it in various ways.

In fact this is the thing that annoyed me the most in my Indian experience, people there won’t say you a firm “no”, they consider it disrespectful, they will say “yes”, “maybe”, “later” or “we’ll see” and then try to do everything to avoid it. They don’t know this is even more disrespectful for us, Westerners, who prefer a straight “yes” or “no” and then keeping your word. This may be the cause for some of our cultural conflicts.

So, back to the topic: we had the “official” photo session planned for a full morning in a park, then it was moved for something short in the evening at the temple, then for something even shorter at house on the roof, then it didn’t happen, all we did was a few shoots at the reception place.

indian wedding

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Indian wedding: the reception

The groom’s reception was like the bride’s reception: people come, eat and go, leaving the place open for the next round of guests to come, eat and go… This allowed for a high turnover of guests… if I recall correctly they were expecting around 800 people.

indian wedding

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Indian wedding: the shine

Is a long process for the bride to make herself beautiful but the result is showing, after all the preparations (make-up, hair style, clothes, jewelry) she was really shining.

indian bride

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Indian wedding: beautification

The ceremony happened to the bride’s home so it and the reception after was organised by her family. Two days later it was followed by another reception, this time at the groom’s place, organized by his family. Here’s the bride making herself beautiful for the reception:

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Indian wedding: the bargain

The groom returned home with the bride, here he encountered another expected “surprise”: the door bas blocked by the women inside, who demanded a price to allow him inside with the wife. And we had a funny part: they asked for “10” so he paid 10 rupies, which is practically nothing, compared with 10 thousands, as they intended. Careful with the words, girls!

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Indian wedding: the arrival

After the wedding, arriving at the groom’s house, another thing happened: a white cloth was put on the stairs at the entrance with a plate holding red paint. The bride stepped on the paint and then walked inside, leaving some red tracks of her feet. The groom followed on her tracks.

indian wedding

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Indian wedding: the cry

I was warned this is going to happen and be ready with my camera to capture it, but I swear it was genuine: leaving the parent’s house the bride started to cry, it was an authentic cry and it made me feel a bit bad, like a vulture for capturing it… but I remembered I am a photographer and kept shooting.

indian wedding

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Indian wedding: the departure

I said there are a lot of blessings in an Indian wedding, the morning after the ceremony held another round (in fact two rounds!) of them at the bride’s house, before she left, going for the groom’s place. Some tears started to show…

indian wedding

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Indian wedding: the sleepover

There is also an unexpected tradition in an Indian (Bengali) wedding: after the ceremony is over, the couple is not left together and alone (in fact, they are not let alone for a couple more days). Until the morning they will stay awake at the ceremony place together with their close friends. We added a bit of modernity into it and spent the time playing charades and Mafia.

indian wedding

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Indian wedding: the feeding

With the ceremony over (around midnight) people went to eat and unlike the Romanian weddings I know, is not an all-night-long party, people just go to the reception place, eat then go away, leaving the space for others to come and eat.

One of the last to have food that night is the new couple, and while I don’t think is part of the tradition, I found cute seeing how she is feeding him 🙂 But is not the end, there are things to come…

indian wedding

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