Covid effect: Kashmiri weddings no longer a grand affair


Kashmiri weddings are traditionally a grand affair that last around four to five days, involve a couple of scrumptious 12-course feasts (the Kashmiri wazwan) and a large gathering of friends and relatives who breathe life into the party. However, these days with the Union Territory of Jammu Kashmir recording around 50,000 Covid cases and 850 deaths, guests are making do with a serving of Khewa (green tea with saffron), meat and large dollops of sanitisers.

Many families have decided to postpone the weddings till such a time they can hold a grand feast, others who are going ahead are adapting traditions to ensure guests’ safety. “My brother was to get married this year and all arrangements were almost done, but in light of the growing number of Covid cases we have deferred the wedding to next year. Besides, what is a Kashmiri wedding without a big gathering,’’ says one Adnan Ahmad of the old city.

In Kashmir, the peak marriage season is between August to November. Those in the wedding industry say few weddings have taken place since the outbreak of the coronavirus and the weddings that did take place were hardly a two-day affair with few people in attendence and masks and sanitisers part of the wedding paraphernalia.

Haji Shabir Ahmad, a wholesale dealer of disposable wedding items, says, “Earlier, we would sell disposables ranging from ₹60,000 to ₹1,50,000. Now, the bills have whittled down to ₹20,000- ₹30,000. Even the number of weddings have come down by 70%.’’ He, however, says they have added sanitizers and masks and personal protective equipment (PPW) kits in the list of items.

Nowadays, wazwan is being served in single copper plates instead of bigger plates known as (trami). Some have replaced the plates with clay bowls .
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HT Photo
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TRADITIONS TAILORED 

In Kashmiri weddings hosts traditionally serve a couple of feasts known as Kashmiri wazwan comprising seven to 12 courses served in big copper plates. Each plate is consumed by four people. While a simple marriage lasts for two days, affluent families stretch their marriage ceremonies four to five days where quintals of mutton prepared by trained chefs (wazas) is served.

Nowadays, wazwan is being served in single copper plates instead of bigger plates known as (trami). Some have replaced the plates with clay bowls .

“I recently attended a marriage at Iqbal Nagar Sopore, it was a simple function, the guests were served in clay pots instead of copper plates. Many people like the way, our ancestors used to eat in clay pots,’’ says a resident Shiekh Haroon, adding “ A curtailed guest list has also made marriages simple, with many skipping the wazwan altogether and serving tea or Khewa.

Peer Ishfaq, the cousin of a groom-to- be, says, “Last time when we had a marriage at our house, the function lasted for four to five days and we ended up serving seven quintals of meat to nearly 1,000 guests. This time we are preparing just 100 kilograms of meat and our guest list is not more than 100.”

Mohammad Yaqood a chef from north Kashmir says, “The wazas have been hit by the successive lockdowns imposed after August 5. Earlier, they had to be booked months in advance. The Kashmiri wedding industry is at its nadir.”



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