Summer vacation gives ample time to all kids to dig into their forgotten toys and indulge in various activities. Such was the case with my darling little cousins this summer, as they revived a forgotten tradition of yesteryear — a doll’s wedding!
Yes, a doll’s wedding or ‘guriya ki shaadi’ as it is lovingly called. It is a unique activity that used to take place every now and then when we were kids, but it seldom happens now. The doll wedding tradition allowed kids from the family and neighbourhood to join in the event and enjoy to the fullest, just like a real wedding. All the rites and rituals are celebrated just like adults have a traditional wedding with different functions such as mayoon, mehndi, shaadi and valima.
A doll wedding was not just a way to pass some leisure time when gadgets weren’t invented and the television was on for just a few hours. It also provided an opportunity for the children arranging it to learn social skills and responsibility at an early age. Sometimes these doll weddings were celebrated as a grand occasion where adult family friends and relatives were also invited. The adults too would join in to help in the arrangements and enjoy the festivities. My cousins were lucky to celebrate their dolls’ wedding in such a grand manner.
When my cousins planned a Barbie doll’s wedding with a Ken doll, every family member participated to make the event memorable and presentable for the kids. Their mothers and aunts helped them prepare the bride’s and groom’s dresses. Some girls from our family made bride’s bangles and also decorated the gift boxes and looked after all the arrangements.
My cousin named her bride doll Sonia, while the groom doll was named Shahzaib. The events started with the mayoon and mehndi ceremony.
On the mayoon, the bride wore a yellow shirt with tilla and zari embroidery and a ghrara; her hair was braided beautifully. Each bridesmaid, who were my cousin and her friends, dressed to perfection. On the wedding day, the girls adorned their doll in red embroidered lehenga.
Like in real weddings, everyone waited for the groom doll and his party to arrive. The groom arrived in a decorated white toy car, wearing a black embroidered sherwani with red turban and straight pants. The event was very interesting and enjoyable as the kids conducted all the rituals that take place on the wedding day, and everyone enjoyed in the same way as they enjoy a real person’s wedding.
The valima took place on the next day. The bride was dressed in a turquoise coloured dress, while the groom was dressed in a black three-piece suit. From the beautiful shimmering dresses of the bride and bridesmaids, to bouquets of flowers and rituals, the wedding was full of festivities and fun.
The event ended with a lot of appreciation by the adults for the well-organised ceremony arranged and conducted by my little cousins. This revival of a traditional playful activity, that is almost lost now, gave all the children of the family and their friends a chance to enjoy themselves together in a hearty and healthy manner.
The dolls’ wedding made this summer vacation one that the children will remember for long.
Published in Dawn, Young World, August 31st, 2019