Hello all! I feel as if I’ve been away for ages, I couldn’t wait to get back to my blogging world somehow even though its only been a week. We’ve just had a long weekend here, with it being Easter holidays (Friday-Monday). And despite the cold snap (still cold, spring put to a halt), my family and I drove up for 3 hours up north to Yorkshire over the Easter break. First we took the opportunity to visit my hubby’s best friend from University, his wife whom I’m very fond of has not been too well, so it was good to have been able to visit them again. We were only popping by for a brief visit, but they had prepared the most delicious roasted chicken with all the trimmings (including Yorkshire pudding) for us. Such is their nature, always so warm and hospitable, I was truly moved. Our children get on really well too, so it’s always a real pleasure to catch up with them. A couple of hours seemed very brief when we are with them! I’ve always loved the view from their garden, this time it was especially lovely all covered with thick snow! I pray my dear friend recovers fully soon, my prayers are with her, InshaAllah (God willing). An illness is a test from God to make you a better stronger person, she’ll come through this I pray.
We then headed to the wedding house. Which brings me to the main reason for our trip up North this time around, to attend the wedding of my hubby’s relative. Weddings are a big thing amongst the British Asian Muslim community here, this is the time when close families, relatives and friends gather to celebrate, a truly festive occasion indeed. Guests may vary from 10-1000 people, it all depends on the family and their connections and how much they are prepared to spend. Throughout my 15.5 years of married life in England I have attended countless of such weddings, and there will be more to come in the near future. My hubby’s relatives are all growing up really fast, those who were as young as 7 years old when I got married are now of the marrying age! Time sure does fly! We met all the relatives at the wedding house that evening before the big day, it was nice to see everyone again after a while. We had some delicious food before bunking in for the night, a very late night it was for me however, ironing and sorting out all the wedding attire and other paraphernalia for my family (6 of us) for the next 2 days! In the morning we all trooped down to the wedding house again, and a whole bus load of us then headed to the bride’s city, which was about half an hour away. All the men went straight to the mosque, this is where the marriage contract is normally solemnised for the Asian Muslim community in England. The turning point in a couple’s life; the man is now officially responsible for the woman he marries, as her father/guardian entrusts her into his care forever, as officiated by the Muslim Imam (religious head at the mosque) and witnessed by all the men present there.
The women would wait around elsewhere (not allowed or required in the mosque for this purpose) until this most significant ceremony ends (about half an hour usually) and then everyone goes to the hall or restaurant where the wedding celebration is being held. The groom’s family and relatives, laden with wedding gifts, will then escort him into the wedding hall where the bride and her family await and welcome everyone. This ceremony is usually hosted by the bride’s family. By this time everyone’s hungry anyway and it’s always nice to have some delicious wedding food. Then the newly weds will sit on the stage to receive their guests’ best wishes and gifts. More food is served as trays of biscuits and cakes and sweet milky tea appear. By the time the newlyweds exchanged rings and cut their wedding cake you realised several hours have passed by and it’s time for the groom to take the bride home, usually a teary affair as it signifies her leaving her family behind to join her husband’s family. A poignant moment in a young woman’s life! Marriage is not only about two people getting together, it is also the marriage of two families. So many new hearts and feelings to be handled with care. A new beginning indeed. As long as the bride knows how to guard her tongue, she’ll be able to deal with her new in-laws and manage her newly married life. That’s my little advice to all bride to bes, I’m afraid it’s not just about looking pretty, cooking and cleaning well or having a degree or a good job my dears! Which was what an enchanting 20-year-old girl I chatted with at the wedding seemed to think! I believe we wouldn’t have half the marriage problems we hear today if that was the case!
The second day is the walimah celebration, this function is held by the groom’s side to welcome the bride into his family. The bride’s family is specially invited along with all the other wedding guests of the groom’s. Another festive and joyous affair; at another banqueting hall/restaurant, again with lots of delicious food, catching up with relatives and friends, whom you don’t have the chance to meet up often. This is also another day when everyone dresses to the nines, even those who don’t usually like to dress up, like my family. As nice as it had been over the past couple of days, attending this lovely wedding we were privileged to have been invited to, I am just glad to be back home now. There is no place like home as they say, home sweet home. All the wedding preparations and celebrations and travelling have drained me, physically and mentally! Until the next wedding, I pray the newlyweds will have a lasting blessed happy marriage, InshaAllah (God Willing). I strongly believe if a couple goes into a marriage with the right intention and for the right reasons, they will be forever blessed InshaAllah. They will stand the test of time, no great storm shall shake their holy matrimony. God knows best…