The coronavirus has dampened the centuries old lavish marriage tradition for which Indian administered Kashmir is known has changed drastically in a region that suffered a long month over security lockdown last year.
According to report, the three days of feasting, elaborated rituals and huge gatherings have been changed to muted ceremonies attended by a limited number of close relatives and neighbours.
Haseeb Mushtag had drawn up a guest list of hundreds of guest and made grand plans for celebrating his wedding in May before the pandemic hits the world.
The pandemic prevented him from going back home for his wedding from Dubai, where he has an engineering job.
But when he got home for his wedding in September, he was only able to invite about 100 people from his extended family and close friends due to coronavirus pandemic.
“Marriage is a once-in-a-lifetime affair and I feel really bad that we couldn’t invite most of our relatives, friends and neighbours,” Haseeb said at the ceremony.
While Kashmiris usually hold elaborate marriage feasts, with meat cooked over open fires through the night teams of chefs called Wazas.
About hundreds of guest are invited for lunch and dinner and served up to 30-course meals. And the fearst called a Wazwan.
In the past, guests would gather in groups of four around large copper platters heaped with rice and various mutton and chicken dishes. The Wazas move among the guests, dressed in crisp white baggy trousers and tunics, serving more food.
The Wazwan tradition is so entrenched across all classes in Kashmir that numerous attempts by social groups and the government to raise awareness around food waste have failed to result in any significant restraint.
But the pandemic has largely changed things in a matter of months.
Report from health officials say 63,990 coronavirus cases have been reported in the region through September 20, including 1,001 deaths.
While the pandemic has affected the master chef Ghulam Qadir and his team of over three dozen cooks, as the pandemic has impacted their earnings badly.
“It looks like a small change, but this kind of change saddens me.”
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