I have been to over five Indian weddings in my life, and each has been such a different but exciting experience. Indian weddings are a culmination of culture, family, love, music, and dance. From the vibrant outfits to the important cultural traditions - Indian weddings embody so much. An interesting element to Indian weddings is that they last more than one day. There are multiple events that lead up to the actual wedding ceremony.
One of these events was most recently highlighted in American media, due to Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra's highly anticipated wedding. The Sangeet typically occurs the night before the wedding and is an evening full of dance, music, and celebration. It is both an exciting and meaningful way to bring the two families together before the big day.
At Priyanka and Nick's Sangeet, they had a friendly dance competition between the Chopra and Jonas families. For me, it was interesting reading/listening to explanations of a Sangeet from the perspective of an American person. In an interview from TODAY, Joe Jonas was told that his family must've had an advantage during the dance competition (because of their musical background), but this is what he had to say: "I wish we did. The Sangeet is a beautiful Indian tradition. They have the most incredible performers in her family, and a lot of friends and family that are Bollywood stars, so for us to go out there and think that we know what we're doing? They definitely crushed us."
Just from my own personal experiences, Indians definitely do not mess around at weddings. Most of my cousins often end up in the center of a circle, moving along in perfect rhythm to whatever song is playing, whether it be Indian or American. Our Indian dance moves are magnetic and exciting, so I'm glad that more Americans are now able to see that side of my culture.
After their Sangeet, Nick and Priyanka also had a traditional Indian wedding ceremony. The ceremony itself is so symbolic because many important prayers are exchanged between the man and woman, as well as several pivotal actions, which are all done to represent the importance of marriage, and the union of two souls. One of, if not the most important part of an Indian wedding ceremony, are the seven rounds the couple must make around a fire. Each round represents an important ideal in regards to marriage.
For example, in the seventh round: "The couple prays to God for companionship, togetherness, loyalty, and understanding between themselves. They ask God to make them friends and give them the maturity to carry out their friendship for a lifetime." It means a great deal to me, that Nick Jonas participated in a proper Indian wedding ceremony. He and Priyanka are from two very different cultures, but they still found a way to unite as one. The respect he and his family displayed is commendable, and as an Indian, I can't even describe how amazing it is to see the overwhelming amount of respect and curiosity shown from Americans who have reported or written about this wedding. I hope that this will prompt more people to want to learn about the ins and outs of various different cultures.