How to Crash a Nepali Hindu Wedding

The bride and groom were sitting side by side, surrounded by friends and relatives. Someone was pouring water in a constant stream over the bride’s hand, which was clasping the groom’s. Another person sprinkled red tika powder over both hands.

Eduardo sneaked closer. His big camera lens found its way in between shoulders and heads, and soon enough he was snapping away. One of the bride’s uncles followed Eduardo’s moves. He didn’t look pleased. Anytime now, I thought, we will be chased away. I sat down in the shade, trying to make myself invisible and watching the ritual from a safe distance.

“Where are you from?”
My vanishing act obviously didn’t work. I looked up to see a kind face to the earnestly asked question. Incredibly, the couple’s friends were neither surprised nor offended by our being there. Instead, they wanted to know all about us, and of course what camera Eduardo was using and how much it cost. I chatted away.

A change in the ritual pulled my new buddies away, so I walked over to watch the music act. Seven musicians blowing horns, drumming, strumming sitars. A female dancer dressed in a traditional Nepali costume enticed young men to join her. Again, trying to make myself seem unnoticeable, I found a place a few feet away from everyone else. But as soon as I sat down, an older man gestured to me: “go and take photos.”


Feeling somewhat more welcome, I sided up to the dancers, trying to get a good shot. It was useless trying to hide my white face. Soon enough, I had everyone asking to see the pictures. Digital cameras are really a godsend when it comes to traveling.

“Why don’t you get up and dance?”

It was the groom’s father. I tried to decline. I’m too shy for that kind of thing. With only two or three people dancing in front of the crowd, how could I? I wasn’t even invited to the wedding.

“Come dance with me!”

One of the young men held out his hand. And I couldn’t refuse. If you crash a wedding and they invite you to dance, then you better dance.


He led me to the middle of the crowd, gave me the great advice: “just move your hands and feet.”
Off I went, making a complete fool of myself and making everyone laugh.

But I loved it. It was the kind of day you dream of when you are planning your trip.

Perhaps making yourself invisible does not work, but approaching with respect, smiling and being friendly, and having a professional camera certainly did the trick.

And that’s how you crash a Nepali Hindu wedding.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: