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  • Writer's pictureAlyssa Mongroo

The Modern West Indian Hindu Bride

It's important to me that my readers learn about my culture, a culture that is constantly evolving and I am constantly learning new things about everyday. I was so shy about it when I was younger. I used to hate explaining to people where Trinidad and Tobago is, and how Indians arrived there and thats why we're considered Indo-Caribbean. To this day, I don't know what box to check on the race category, so I consistently pick "other" and call it a day.

West Indian culture, while racially Indian, is culturally Caribbean. Meaning, our Indian clothes tend to be bold, blingy, and bright. Hindu weddings in Trinidad are typically 2-3 days long. Without being too technical, Hinduism in Trinidad differs a little from East Indian Hinduism in minor ways but essentially the festivities in an East Indian Hindu wedding are the same as a West Indian Hindu wedding. The first night the bride typically wears a yellow sari/lehenga for the saffron night, known as the maticoor. In India some Hindus call this the Haldi ceremony. The second day is the actual wedding ceremony, where the bride and groom sit around the fire and take Hindu vows and walk around the fire about a billion times. Typically many brides wear red as a traditional color. I love red Indian clothes, I think its the one color that every brown girl looks beautiful in. Red is made for us. However some modern brides have opted for different colors such as blue, pink, green etc. After the long ceremony which in Trinidad, typically takes place at the bride's home, the bride and groom change into a tuxedo, and a Western bridal dress (typical white dress with veil and a bouquet of flowers) and head to the groom's home for the reception. Nowadays, most weddings take place in a banquet hall or other venue, but traditionally this is what happens. This symbolizes the bride "leaving" her home and entering her new life. Personally I'm just excited for all the clothes and jewelry. (ITS 3 GORG OUTFITS GUYS!)

Traditionally, makeup for all three looks typically consists of of heavy eyeliner and shadow, luscious long lashes, and red lips. As per foundation, this used to be tricky because in the past, many brands only had 3 shades: light, medium, and dark. As one would suspect medium doesn't apply to everyone. In fact, if you look some older photos of traditional brides, you will notice that their foundation may not match their neck. At my mom's wedding, her MUA didn't show up, leaving her without anyone to do hair or makeup. Luckily my mom had my aunt who is a total pro at this. My aunt helped her with all three looks making my mom look like a total Bollywood model on her big day. Her foundation didn't look ashy at all (by that time, foundations finally had some more skin shades). Thats what sisters are for right?

Makeup has since heavily evolved. Foundation brands finally have tons of more shades that opt for women for color.There are now setting sprays that make sure makeup does not smudge. Many brides are loving the deep cut crease look (what I wore here) and lots of gold sparkles. Eyeliner has not changed; smoked or neat, eyeliner is essential to Hindu brides. Lashes have changed to fake lashes lots of brides opting for Lilly lashes or Hudabeauty. I am not a personal fan of fake lashes but I totally get it, its your big day, do it up... but hand me the lash curler and roller lash mascara on mine. With lips, lots of brides are swapping out the traditional red lip and opting for a nude, or dark brown lip. Some brides even preferring the natural but glam look.

Our culture is full and vibrant. My hope with this post is that you learned something new about Indo-Caribbean Hindu brides and the culture that exists among them.

My lehenga is something a guest at a West Indian wedding would wear. It's bright, has lots of bling and lots of designs. My mom wore this to a wedding a couple years ago. My jewelry is actually from India. My dad went there back in 2012 to trace our roots. He unfortunately did not find much, BUT he was amazed to see the birthplace of our ancestors.

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