Event 8: Waleemah;
The waleemah is part of Sunnah and is thrown by the grooms side in celebration of the wedding. This is to make the wedding and marriage public. Unlike the wedding events, the waleemah is a simple affair. The couple enter together and spend their time sitting on the stage. Decor of the hall may complement the bride’s outfit and it is tradition for the groom to wear a 3 piece suit or a tuxedo as opposed to any ethnic type of clothing.
The girls family, immediate and extended also attend the waleema. There may be cake cutting as part of the days celebrations. Overall the atmosphere of the waleema is one of joy and merriment.
Event 9: Makhlawa
After the waleemah the girl returns to her parents home (with husband) and stays there for a few days. Makhlawa – dinner/party invitations. Guests come to visit the newly weds and throw dinner invitations/parties. The system of dinner invitations can last anywhere up to a year after the couples marriage.
The girl is expected to dress up and adorn herself in gold jewellery and extravagant dresses for a few months into married life (or a year, whatever she can sustain!) as this is her “identity” and she dresses accordingly to play the role of “nay navee dulhan” – newly wed.
The system of giving jahez (dowry) occurs amongst Pakistani’s. This is where, in theory the girl is gifted by her parents with items of furniture, and other household goods for her usage at her new home. Some would even gift cows, and sheep! This was partly to make the transition of moving home easier.
However typically these days it is the grooms side who notify the girls parents of what “they need”. This can be anything from clothes to furntiure to cars. Jahez has turned into a menace and has resulted in many problems with girls being burnt or killed for bringing an inadequate jahez with them, or taunted and degraded. The jahez and mahr are distinct and different – the mahr is given from the boy to the girl, whereas jahez is from the girls family to the boys family.
This is linked to bride wealth. Bride wealth, known as kaikuli, has sanction under Islamic law and was often viewed as a pre-mortem inheritance from a father to his daughter. In Pakistan, a woman is entitled to one-eighth of her parental property as dowry, with the woman retaining rights over her possessions. Grooms were encouraged under Islamic law to give wives generous mahr, a cash or gift of monetary value at the time of marriage meant to secure the bride’s future. Since the end of the 1970s, the amount of mahr has decreased while the modern version of dowry being jahez–over which the bride rarely retains any control–has gained ground on kaikuli.
The grooms side of the family gift the girl with a bhurry. This consists of fancy clothes, shoes and handbags – and used to include even the tiniest of items such as a comb, underwear and toothbrush! Nowadays however, it is limited to clothes and perhaps jewellery.
There used to be, and still is for some, a tradition of showcasing the bhurry to guests at the wedding. Each item is shown, purely for the purpose of demonstrating and asserting their social standing through the intricate bhurry and its contents -the more items in the bhurry, the “better” off the grooms family are thought to be.
The girls parents also gift their daughter with a trouseau made up of clothes, shoes and handbags (other various accessories also included). The girl is expected to adorn herself in fancy clothes at least up to a year after the wedding. These outfits are not showcased to guests.
So she has 2 complete sets of new clothes, shoes and other accessories. No shopping required for a while; until the clothes get ruined or until they go out of fashion.
And that folks is an end to the Pakistani Wedding series. Hope you enjoyed it.
Thank you for reading