Madness in Pakistani weddings

Maha Rais

Expensive marriages have almost become a must, even for low-income families, due to the fear of what ‘people’ will think otherwise. Weddings in Pakistan have become a status symbol now. Everything is set to look amazing but in making the wedding perfect and attractive, we conveniently forget about the bond of holy matrimony. Everyone, including the couple, pays attention to external beautifications but neglects the factors that actually build a marriage and make it work. Nobody thinks what will happen once the marigolds and roses fade away and the pricey wedding dress is forever locked away in a suitcase. Another mistake that we make is the lavish spending on food at weddings. What is the point of spending a huge amount on people who can already afford such food, why not invite people from the less privileged strata of the society and allow them to indulge in these luxuries? They will be really happy, they will remember us and their prayers will matter. Why a battalion of extended generations of relatives? One more thing that I would like to mention here is the influence of wrong cultures on our weddings. As Pakistani society has grown more overtly conservative, weddings remain one of the few culturally acceptable venues for men and women to meet without restriction and even dance with each other. In other words, ‘Mehndi’ is simply a substitute for a nightclub. What has gone wrong with us? Since when dancing has become a part of our culture? I do believe that a lot of people want to take steps to eliminate such customs but they cannot stand up to the criticism of society. Thankfully our government proved itself as a saviour to the less-fortunate people when the Punjab Assembly on Thursday passed a law titled ‘The Punjab Marriage Functions Act, 2016’ which directs that only one dish comprising a meat curry and one dish of rice, along with bread, a sweet dish, salad and hot or cold beverages should be served in wedding functions and other related ceremonies. The law binds that all wedding functions should be concluded before 10pm, bans illumination and decorations on streets and adjoining areas of the house or the wedding hall where the function is being held, bans use and display of firecrackers, explosives or firearms, bans the display of dowry before the public, or cause nuisance or disturbance in the neighbourhood. Violators of these restrictions could be punished with one month sentence along with fine ranging from Rs. 50,000 to over two million. Now it is our duty to abide by this law, for we are the privileged ones. As members of an educated community, we must show a sense of responsibility and bring about a change to dismantle such weird and complicated constructed norms that bring about no good, but instead intensify wrong trends in our society.
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