arzoo & farhan’s mayun

my second day in karachi was extremely busy as urooj (farhan’s youngest sister) gave instructions on how to prepare for the mayun ceremony to be celebrated at the house that night. this was a double party for arzoo (farhan’s older sister) and farhan as both were getting married.

during the day urooj and i made mehendi (henna) and put in in different small pots and containers. we hung thousands of marigolds (orange and yellow) as the backdrop to the platform where arzoo and farhan would sit. i’ve never seen so many brightly colored flowers in my whole life. it was super cool. flowers were part of every ceremony, usually worn by the bride and groom, but the guests as well. the women would all receive bracelets made of orange blossoms as they arrived. they smelled soooo good!

during the ceremonies, i would sit with the women as they sang prayers. when praying, the women keep their heads covered. the girl singing prayers for arzoo’s mayun had a beautiful voice and genuinely felt the words she sang. even though i couldn’t understand what she was singing, her sincerity was moving.

i don’t really understand the point of farhan’s mayun, but for arzoo it signaled the beginning of several days where she would stay home always wearing yellow. she even put yellow tumeric mixed with rose water on her skin. all of this was in preparation for her wedding, when she would go from yellow to red, as a bright flame. here are farhan’s dad (who i call baba), arzoo, farhan, his mom (who i call ami) and urooj in the back.

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