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  • Writer's pictureJewella Sookrit

First-Gen Frustration Monologue

First-Gen Frustration Monologue

I’m a first-generation immigrant from India, which means my parents are from India and I was born here in Canada. Being a first-generation immigrant is beautiful. You’re the perfect combination of Canadian influences and your cultural background. But it can also be extremely frustrating when you’re planning a wedding.

Let me tell you my story. My husband is also a first-gen immigrant from India. We knew that our family values would sometimes clash because we’re coming from two different families. But I had no idea that my own values and traditions would clash with those of my own culture.

When we first started planning the wedding, I vividly remember my husband and I saying, “We’re going to have our beautiful traditional Indian wedding because we’re Indian.” Our parents were thrilled because we were planning to do things like we would have if we were in India. Well…that’s not how it went at all. I picked out a stunning saree for the Hindu ceremony, but when I wanted to wear a white dress to the reception, my parents insisted that I wear an Indian outfit, like a saree or a lengha. In my thought process, I was wearing traditional clothing to the Hindu ceremony at the temple and at the reception, I could wear a white dress. Growing up, I used to see white dresses for weddings and I loved it. So I had to explain to my parents that I really wanted to wear the white dress. They were reluctant at first but as soon as I put it on, they could fathom my love for it.

In another instance, the day before the Hindu ceremony, there is usually a traditional Haldi ceremony where family members come to your house, you do a prayer and have turmeric put on your skin by girls and women. The bride and groom do this at their respective homes. The purpose is to cleanse the body and prepare you for adulthood. I wasn’t really into doing this part because it was another day of celebrations and I didn’t see the importance of it. My family wanted to do it, so I decided we could. It would be a lot of fun anyway.

I realized at some point that being first-gen means that I am a beautiful amalgamation of my Indian culture and my Canadian culture. I’ve picked up things about Canadian culture that I absolutely love and meshed them with my Indian culture. What does this mean for wedding planning? It means I had to learn to pick and choose what I wanted and understand that I am a little different than my parents because I’m not just Indian – I’m also Canadian. But it gives me a chance to create a new culture. We compromised on a lot and worked together to host one of the most breath-taking celebrations ever.

And that’s how the smooth and successful weddings work – with compromise.

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