UA’s South Asian Culture Club hosts first mock South Asian wedding

Makayla Maxwell, Contributing Writer

The South Asian Culture Club hosted their first mock shaadi, or wedding, in the UA Student Center Ballroom on Friday, Jan. 20. The purpose of the event was to raise awareness of South Asian culture for the student body by showcasing wedding traditions across the diaspora. 

The event starred a mock couple as they, and several audience members, engaged in various marital practices and traditions from across the South Asian diaspora. Various SACC members hosted the event, entertaining over 300 attendees. 

The evening began with the groom and groomsmen running onstage energetically, dancing and shouting. Then came the bride, who entered gracefully, accompanied by her bridesmaids. The bride and groom then took center stage, ready to begin the ceremony. 

Though the South Asian diaspora is quite vast, the SACC managed to seamlessly incorporate many traditions from different cultures. One such tradition is called Joota Chupai, traditionally prevalent in India. The bridesmaids steal the groom’s shoes and secretly pass them around throughout the wedding while groomsmen attempt to find them. Over the course of the mock shaadi, the audience managed to keep the shoes away from the groomsmen, despite their best attempts to find them.  

Another tradition is the Poruwa ceremony, a Sinhalese tradition where the maternal uncle ties a thread around the little fingers of the bride and groom to symbolize unity.  

The audience were not just spectators; they often participated in the traditional practices. From tug-of-war to a rasgulla eating competition, the audience remained engaged and involved throughout the evening. 

“Because the South Asian community is kind of small in Tuscaloosa, it’s just nice having events like this where you can see parts of different cultures,” said Alisha Kale, a senior majoring in computer science, who serves as the vice president for the SACC. “When I came here, it was really exciting for me to go to my first American wedding, and I remember just seeing everything, and being like ‘Oh, what’s this? What’s happening?’ and I kind of wish someone was there to explain to me.” 

After the ceremony, there was dancing by the bride and groom and SACC members. Afterward, they opened the floor for people to dance, mingle and visit the henna table. There was catered food by Bawarchi, an Indian cuisine restaurant from Birmingham.   

“It honestly makes me feel like I’m home again for some time,” Kale said. “When I’m away from home, it gets kind of hard sometimes, so events like this remind me that even if I’m away from home, this is my home away from home.” 

Cydney York, a sophomore majoring in biology, said she walked away from the event with a newfound appreciation for South Asian culture.  

“From the clothes to the decorations, I thought it was really beautiful,” York said. “I enjoyed participating in another group’s culture and learning more about it as well.” 

The SACC plans on hosting more events like this in the future. Kale said she hopes that the mock shaadi will encourage more students, South Asian or otherwise, to come and enjoy different aspects of South Asian culture.   

“We have international prom. It’s going to happen in March where people can either dress up in a prom dress or cultural dresses and just come experience prom again in college,” Kale said. 

Kale hopes to get more members so the SACC can host more events like this in the future. They will have a table on Get on Board Day and they encourage anyone to join and learn more about South Asian culture.