A Twist on the Tropical: A Traditional Hindu Muslim Wedding in Costa Rica
What’s better than one magical day to celebrate the beginning of the rest of your lives? How about three magical days of a traditional Hindu Muslim wedding?
And in magical Costa Rica no less!
I was honored to photograph Rohid and Radha’s lively three-day celebration in Costa Rica. As you can imagine, I got hundreds of colorful, fun, and poignant images from the festivities. These folks were certainly down for having a good time and dancing all night!
I’ve picked out my favorites for you to see here so let’s get started.
A Traditional Hindu Muslim Wedding
Just like Western-style weddings, Hindu weddings have plenty of variation. There are the “standard” rituals and there are also plenty of other traditions that the couple can choose from to add their own flavor to their wedding.
For example, one such fun tradition that Rohid and Radha chose was to find a coin in a bowl of rice. The bride and the groom are allowed to each use only one hand to find the coin. The game is played 7 times and it’s said that whoever finds it the most will “wear the pants in the family”.
Traditionally, this game is played with a bowl of milk. The colored rice they chose was a nice touch, adding a bit more challenge to the quest (and making it much less messy).
Since Rohid is Muslim, the couple also opted for Muslim traditions as well. For an extra twist, they even added an element of Western weddings by opting for a black suit and the iconic white wedding dress for the reception after the wedding ceremony.
The Beginning of Something Beautiful
Rohid and Radha met through a mutual friend when they were applying as undergraduates at UT Austin. They were captivated with each other right from the start and spent months getting to know each other over the phone before finally meeting up on campus.
The couple has been together for 9 years already and has shared many adventures. One of which was a trip to Costa Rica. They absolutely loved their experience here and wanted to share it with their family and friends. Since they were already leaning toward a destination wedding for the intimacy it would provide, Costa Rica was the perfect choice!
They opted for the luxurious Punto de Vista Villa in Manuel Antonio. This gave them plenty of space and privacy for three days of festivities!
Day One: Mendhi
The first day is all about preparation. It takes time to create all the intricate, beautiful designs that cover the bride’s hands and feet. So why not make a party out of it?
Rohid and Radha also opted for a cocktail party to keep things lighthearted and fun. Family members took turns applying henna to Radha’s extremities as well as to each other.
Day Two: Pithi
They’re still getting ready on the second day and this involves a Pithi ceremony. Family members gather to apply a thick, yellow paste to the bride and groom’s face. This paste is traditionally made from chickpea flour, turmeric, rose water and maybe a few other herbs.
As with many traditions in a Hindu wedding, Pithi serves both a practical and a symbolic purpose. The paste is an excellent beauty treatment that helps even out the skin’s tone in preparation for the most important day of the couple’s lives.
Symbolically, smearing the paste on the bride and groom is a way for family members to demonstrate their love and affection for the couple. It’s also said that if the bride or groom smear the paste on an older, unmarried family member, it increases that person’s chances of finding a mate.
For Rohid and Radha’s wedding, this ceremony encompassed plenty of fun, a few shenanigans, and lots of laughter.
Day Three: Wedding Ceremony
Now it’s time for the sacred rituals of the Hindu wedding ceremony itself.
There is a lot of symbolism in a Hindu wedding ceremony. The bride and groom’s families (as well as the bride and groom) put colorful garlands around each other’s necks to symbolize acceptance. The groom also puts a sacred necklace around the bride’s neck that represents commitment, safety, and security.
The ceremony takes place under a beautifully decorated covering called a mandap. This covering is meant to represent the home the new couple will make together. The four corners represent the parents of the bride and groom and its red color signifies prosperity.
The groom kindles a sacred fire, into which they make offerings of clarified butter (ghee), grains, and more while reciting prayers. The bride and groom then walk around the fire either four or seven times, reciting prayers. Then they take seven steps reciting their marriage vows with each step.
They exchange rings while a few more blessings and prayers are spoken. The audience wishes lifelong happiness and prosperity upon them by showering them with flower petals and the deed is finally done!
As if they hadn’t already partied enough the first two nights, they certainly enjoyed themselves at the reception. Lots of smiles, lots of laughter, and some pretty sweet dance moves.
This couple and their families and guests thoroughly enjoyed this three-day wedding celebration.
Whether you want to do a three-day traditional Hindu Muslim wedding, a Western-style wedding, or simply get married barefoot on the beach, Costa Rica is the place to do it. Make your wedding into the epic event that it should be. After all, you’re starting out on an incredible new journey.
Want to see more photos from Costa Rican weddings? Check out my complete guide below:
Looking to see photos from other amazing venues in Costa rica? Check out my complete list below!