Indian Wedding

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by Omatthew123
Last updated 5 years ago

Social Studies
World Culture

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Indian Wedding

Indian Wedding

My experience of being at an Indian wedding was out of my everyday norm. It made me have to really pay attention to everything and everyone around me so that I was sure that I was doing the right thing at all time as to not disrespect the honored guest. The experience was surreal, like someone took me away from American and dropped me into India. At times it was like being in the middle of a Bollywood film. There were many things that I was curious about but I was mindful not to ask right out or laugh because my curiosity could have come off as an insult. I had to constantly try to find a point of reference from what I know from my own culture to help me to adjust to their Indian culture. I just tried to remember the saying “when in Rome do as the Romans do”. Therefore, I spent a lot of time observing what others did to know exactly what I should do when I was unsure.

Experience and Perception

The attempts that I made to be comfortable or to fit in was trying the Indian dishes. There were strips of chicken breast and other appetizers that were with several sauces. As a way to try to fit in I tried some of the spices although they were spicy. I was successful in fitting in by trying the sauces because it caused us to begin a conversation that was open about the similarities and differences between Indian and Jamaican food and culture. Another attempt that I made to be comfortable was in complimenting the Indian women on their beautiful traditional Indian dresses and henna tattoos. This helped spark another conversation about the beauty of their design and the meaning behind each of them. Lastly, I think the biggest thing that helped me to fit in was in me sitting back and observing what others were doing so that I could emulate what they did. By following the lead of others helped me because through observing I was able to see the correct way of doing something and that helped to build my own confidence and comfort while there.

Attempt to be comfortable

Photo Gallery

My experience and perception of the event was that there were portions of the ceremony that blew me away, portions that made me feel like a fish out of water, portions that made me feel like an outsider, portions that made me feel accepted and a connection even with the differences of culture. At one point I felt as though I was right in the middle of Bollywood with all of the Indian dances that were performed. I was blown away by beauty of the decorations that were used in the hall that expressed the Indian culture. I wasn’t sure what I could touch or not touch because I did not want to seem disrespectful in doing something meaningless in my eyes but insulting in the Indian family’s eyes. I loved the music which was a fusion of American and Indian music together. It was different. When I heard it I liked it but it took me a while to get on the dance floor and join in with the dancing seeing as though I do not know exactly how they dance to their music. So, at first I sat back and watched and then once I got the gist of how they danced, I joined in on the dance floor. There were times when I felt like an outsider. I felt like an outsider at times with seeing the difference in dress of the Indian guest versus the American guest. When looking at all of the Indian women with the Henna on their hands and arms and their traditional dress made me feel different from all of the other guest. Also, when the Indian guest spoke in Hindi around me as a group made me feel like an outsider because I didn’t know what they were saying and could not catch on to any of the jokes that they were telling. There were moments when I felt accepted and connected to the other guest while at the reception. The biggest ice breaker was through their food. I was apprehensive at first to try out some of the Indian cuisine however, I tried it out anyway. Their food tasted great but very spicy. Through trying the food allowed conversations between me and other Indian guest to develop. We were able to talk about the similarities and differences that my Jamaican culture and their Indian culture shared.

Many women of the Bride's family had Henna on their hands.

Some Dishes very spicy but it helped to break the ice!

Traditional Belly Dancers

Beaming Mother of the Bride

Meeting the Father of the Bride

Big Brother & BrideMusic Fusion: American & Indian

Attending this cultural event helps me to better understand how the experience a culturally diverse child feels when they enter an American classroom. They feel lost and unsure of themselves as I did during certain instances at the wedding. They do not understand much and try to rely on whatever information that they can piece together to help them understand how to do things. They do not understand the rules of how things work so when they enter they have their own norms and system that has to be adjusted to how things work in the American classroom. They may feel isolated at times because their language acts as a barrier between them and their peers. Sometimes a culturally diverse child may feel overwhelmed because of the difficulty of understanding the language as I felt when the family members had conversations in Hindi and I didn’t know what they were saying. “Native speakers of a language unconsciously know and obey the rules and customs of their language community. Society and language interact constantly. A wrong choice in word selection may come across as rude, crude, or ignorant” (pg 209). Being in the cultural experience of attending an Indian wedding made me feel much like many of these children who really do not understand what is allowed and not allowed in a classroom. I was apprehensive to eat and dance because I feared that I would do something to insult my friend’s family. A culturally diverse child goes through these same fears where they will isolate themselves or refuse to speak to other students or participate because they do not know what is offensive or not. I experienced having a huge struggle to communicate with the bride’s Indian family because of the language gap. The family would tell a joke in Hindi, everyone would laugh except for me because I didn’t understand enough to make out what was being said. There wasn’t enough “cultural similarities between the sender and the receiver for the latter to decode the message adequately for effective communication to take place” (pg 211). The language was drastically different from English, with me not knowing Hindi and her grandmother not knowing English made it very hard for use to understand each other. For me to understand bits and pieces they would point to what they were talking about so that at least I knew the topic that was being spoke about. A culturally diverse child goes through this same struggle because they are not fluent in English so when something is said to them, they cannot make meaning of it right away because they are still trying to understand what each word means. Just as I stood there with a blank expression on my face as the bride’s family spoke Hindi, so would a culturally diverse child because they are struggling to figure out what is said. Their teacher will have to be very patient with them and use picture references to help them understand what is being said, just as the bride’s family had to point to items so that I could know what they were talking about.For a student who may come from an immigrant background based on their comfort level they may “be at different places of assimilation” (pg 310). Upon attending the Indian wedding, I could see that all of the guest that were from America were at “different places of assimilation” a few stayed to themselves in a corner and talked to each other “opposing the dominant culture”, while others such as myself tried to fuse this culture with my own to help me to better understand the Indian culture and build my comfort level. “Some students will identify with the dominant group. Others will be transcultural or successful in figuring out how to fuse the culture of the dominant society with their native culture. Still other students will strongly identify with their native culture and even resist or develop opposition to the dominant culture” (pg 310). Culturally diverse student will assimilate at their own rate, some will be more open than others to open up and experience a culture that isn’t their own. With trying to assimilate they are seeking to understand and find commonalities between their culture and our American culture. Those who do not assimilate are the students who will have the hardest time because they will be the most reluctant to work with other students and bond with their classmates just as the guests at the Indian wedding.Nonverbal communication is so important when you do not understand the language of the other person. When I was talking to the bride’s grandmother, she used a lot of hand gestures to help me understand a little of what she was trying to say. If she did not add in the nonverbal gestures, I would have been completely lost. Although I did not understand everything, by her using her hands to demonstrate what she was telling me and pointing I was able to have a gist of what she was talking about. “Nonverbal communication can be considered as a part of our communication or language. It conveys messages through one’s attitude, personality, manner, and even dress” (pg 219). This means that through nonverbal messages we are able to communicate thing we wish to say but cannot. A culturally diverse student cannot communicate well but they will be able to show what they mean if they cannot say it, just as the bride’s grandmother had to show me what she couldn’t verbally communicate to me. Knowing this, teachers of culturally diverse students will have to be aware of the nonverbal messages they send so that they can know if they are having a challenging time with the work or if they feel discouraged so that they can encourage them to continue to do their best. To want to have something to say and not be able to communicate it was frustrating for me, likewise, it is just as frustrating to a culturally diverse child.

Overall Experience

Cultural Connection


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