Librarian shares Indian wedding traditions with community
By Calla Vassilopoulos - Staff Writer
Windsor - posted Fri., Jul. 26, 2013
As families entered the Windsor Public Library on July 24, there was traditional Indian music playing in one of the conference rooms. Kids’ space reference librarian Naheedt Ahsan transformed the room and filled it with Indian wedding traditions.
“Our weddings don't just go for two or three days,” said Ahsan. “It's a 10-day event. Every day we do different activities; this is one of them.”
There were several different activities for children, but the first to be noticed were mask-making and body-painting on faces, arms, hands and more. Refreshments included popcorn, lemonade and water.
While children, mostly girls, enjoyed the snacks and crafts, the favorite activity was Henna tattoos, according to Jordan and Vanessa. Henna is a plant that has the ability to create a dye used for skin, nails, hair, fabrics and temporary tattoos. When an Indian woman gets married, she is decorated with Henna tattoos on her hands, palms, legs and feet for a beautified look, according to Ahsan.
“I think it's an awesome idea to interact with different cultures,” said Jackie Cortez, a Windsor parent. “I am Puerto Rican, so I have never seen anything like it; even though I have a neighbor down the street [who is Indian], we never interact. It's good to know the culture, so you understand them better.”
Once the girls' tattoos dried, they were able to put the finishing touches on – the traditional wedding attire and some accessories for picture-taking. The accessories used for the costume play included a necklace and a Maang Tikka, which is hair jewelry. Ahsan also placed large bindis on the foreheads of those who dressed up. Ahsan said the larger-sized marking, typically seen as a red dot on an Indian woman's forehead, indicates the woman is married.
The best part of Indian culture for Ahsan is the courteous nature of the people. She said when you want to see friends there is no need to schedule a time or even to call ahead; you would just knock on the door. Even if the friend is not at home, a family member will welcome the guest and always serve food, according to Ahsan.