My Nepali friend is getting married next week. He only made the announcement about 3 days ago. Him getting married is not a surprise. We’ve been teasing him about it for years. The fact that it was happening SO soon was the surprise. We met in grad school. Our friend group is composed of people from many different countries. And in the academe, people move around a lot for jobs so we’re actually “people from different countries who became friends when they all lived in China at one point but are now scattered in different countries.” Taking an international flight with less than 2 weeks’ notice is not exactly easy for any of us to do. So after all the congratulatory messages came the whining that centered around “Why now?!”
And the answer is…calendar. As a foreigner, I have a very vague understanding of this. It was only explained to me (quite horribly too, I might add! :-P) but the idea is that the wedding day is dependent on the time and date of birth of the bride and groom. And that there are certain times in the year when a wedding is not allowed.
We have something similar to this in the Philippines, although I don’t subscribe to it. It’s not specific times but specific situations that dictate the restriction. Basically it’s bad luck to have things happen in the same year. So if someone died in the family, no one can get married in that year. You also can’t have multiple weddings in the same year. Most people get married between Christmas and New Year because that’s when everyone is home for the holidays. So siblings who want to get married at around the same time get around this restriction by having one wedding in late December and the other one in early January. Both weddings could happen in the same week but as long as they fall on different years, it’s fine.
So anyway, Scott, being Nepali, is familiar with these types of restrictions. But just being the laid-back type of person that he is, he thought (wrongly!) that this is something that you can get around. I remember our conversation going something like this…
Ellie: So, when do we get married?
Scott: This year.
E: I know. But when? Don’t you only have certain times in the year when you can do it?
S: Yeah. But when it comes to religious matters, the priest can perform some ritual to get around it.
Ha! Apparently you can’t. Or maybe you can? But his parents certainly didn’t even consider that as a remote possibility. So the wedding date-ish got moved. And I add “-ish” because the month has been decided by process of elimination, but the actual date was left for…I don’t know when.
My friends were quite surprised about this. In the Philippines, the date is one of the first things that you decide on because some ceremony and reception venues get booked more than a year in advance. It also gives family and friends time to prepare, especially if they will be traveling for it.
And this is what concerns me about our wedding. While it does not seem unusual in Nepal to invite people to a wedding that is happening in less than 2 weeks, if I do that to my family and friends from the Philippines, there’s a good chance that none of them will be able to attend. So I hope this gets sorted out sooner rather than later.
Obviously there’s a cultural layer to this. Auspicious dates and times are important for others, but not for me. I don’t have any affinity towards a particular date. I don’t need it to happen on this certain date because it’s our anniversary or because it’s lucky. It is of no consequence to me whether it happens on the 15th or the 18th of any given month, so I will leave the decision making to people who have a very strong opinion on the matter. My only hope is that it gets sorted out before flights get expensive, and with sufficient time for international guests to plan for it.
But for now, when I tell people I’m getting married and they ask when, a “sometime in —-” will have to do.
Are you married? Are you getting married anytime soon? Who decided on the wedding date? What factors influenced your decision?