By Hafsa Saeed
South Asian Traditions are like dysfunctional families; you can’t live with them or without them. Women can’t have a house of their own until they get married. They wear a red dress on their big day. They consider their wedding day to be the ‘big’ day. We follow all these traditions and more without paying heed to who came up with them and why!
No questions are asked. But all that is about to change as we finally ask the question which has been bothering us for ages: Why do brides wear red?
I reached out to 10 Pakistani women to find out the answer.
“This red color trend isn’t part of our culture, beta,” asserts my 90 year old Nani as she sips her evening tea.
According to her, we Pakistanis have inherited the red bridal dress from the Hindu culture, because being a Muslim majority country, we should be following the likes of Turkey and Middle East, who wear white on their big day.
A friend’s Dadi seems to have a more logical take on the matter.
“Red represents passion and energy. The bride wears red to keep the passion alive and to remain energetic throughout the marriage. And people who lack these two things have no business getting married.”
This makes us wonder why men are not asked to wear red. Aren’t they equally responsible for bringing passion into the marriage?
Maqsooda is always open to a little madness, be it her recipes or her answering my 100 million queries about food. So when I approach her, she strikes a cooking pose, even before I finish the request and launches into a monologue with passion.
“Red is a color of happiness and energy. Whenever I am feeling the happiest, I wear red. And since wedding is a happy occasion, women stay true to their mood and wear a Khushi ka rung!”
That makes so much sense. Thank you Maqsooda! But what about those who feel happy in a LBD?
The Parlour Auntie
I approached the receptionist at my go-to salon and since her job is to make brides look even more gorgeous, she is particularly passionate about the subject.
“Every bride wants to look beautiful on her big day, so she chooses a beautiful, bright color because it is the best day of her life. Also red enhances their bridal glow even more.”
You gotta love the lingo used by our makeup artists and salon staff; they make us women sound like desi goddesses.
The FilmmakerAs I ran to T2F to squeeze in some quiet reading time, I couldn’t help but ask the women the question of the hour.
“Red brings out the true emotions in the person looking at you,” says to Hina Ali, an independent filmmaker, making the shade sound like a truth serum. “Then there’s the fact that red looks good on every woman…even red lipstick looks lovely.”
“I’ll definitely wear red on my wedding day,” she takes an impulsive decision with a laugh before getting back to her work.
The Bestie From Australia
“I’ll even send you a picture of me in red lipstick to add to your article,” writes my friend as she shares her theory. “Whilst red is my favorite colour, I don’t think desi brides began wearing it just because they liked it. It’s a tradition. And so they wear it. Not too long ago people still believed a bride wearing a ‘pheeka’ colour was bad luck.”
The Mommy Dearest
“Mujhay tou meri amma ne kaha tha ke pehno,” shares my mother with a hint of sarcasm as my niece sits in her lap while we drive off to a girl’s day out. “Jokes aside, I think most of us wear it because it is a bold and gorgeous color and makes the bride look beautiful.”
It is safe to say that reason for wearing red is either we are too attached to our sub continental history or it is worn in the hope to keep the marriage happy and passionate.