Saturday, March 17

How to celebrate a Pakistani Dholki

Dholki aka Drum Beating is one of the many glamorous celebrations occurring in a Pakistani Wedding. It's celebrated before the couple gets married and it's usually held at houses where family and friends dance and sing to traditional wedding songs.

So, you are attending a Dholki. Great! Here's all you need to know.

What To Wear?
Pakistani Dholki functions are usually held in the evening which gives you plenty of time to get ready. It's a custom to wear fancy traditional clothing such as salwar kameez, frock, choli etc. Most people go for vibrant colours because it's a happy event, however you can choose to wear dark colours like black and indigo to create a contrast with the other guests. Wearing jewellery is a must in all Pakistani weddings, and Dholki is no exception. It's common to wear traditional sparkly bangles and heavy earrings for the occasion.
At my cousin's Dholki I wore a peach outfit and made a statement with my braided high ponytail which I wrapped in peach yarn to match my kameez. I also applied white mehndi on one hand to finish the look. (I got a lot of compliments from family and friends)

What To Eat?
Food is an important factor in Pakistani weddings. In fact chatting while eating food is part of Dholki sessions. Families serve traditional food like biryani, naan, meat based salan and Pakistani sweets with chai etc. Food is usually served after the singing and dancing sessions. However, there are often snacks to eat before these sessions (such as gol gappe, baked patties, chicken and veggie rolls etc.). I think snacks are the best because they give you energy for all the exertion you'll be doing later on while dancing.

Singing Session
Dhol (drum) is played during singing sessions. There are many traditional songs that are sung accompanying the dhol. Here are a few:
  • Mere Anganein Mein
  • Mehndi Laga Ke Rakhna 
  • Mehndi Taan Sajdi
  • Ye Kaali Kaali Aankhen

Dance Session
After the singing session family and friends gather up and dance together. Some prepare their dance performance weeks before the occasion. There are different types of dances that you see during Dholki events. Some of the basic steps you should know before you attend are thumka, balle balle and any other bhangra steps. As a kid I grew up watching bollywood movies and I would dance to many bollywood gaane (songs) along with my sisters and cousins. We also learned most of our dancing steps while watching Nachle Ve with Saroj Khan. Here are some songs I danced to during Dholki events:
  • Mauja Hi Mauja
  • Chittiyaan Kalaiyaan
  • Ni Nachleh
  • Kala Chashma
  • Say Na Say Na
  • Badi Mushkil
  • London Thumakda

What Games To Play?
It's always nice to have games prepared while taking a break from all the dancing. There are singing games like Antakshari and if there is more time to spare, games like Ludo and Yassu Panju are played later at night.

I recently went to my cousin's Dholki and vlogged it. You can watch it and have an idea on how Pakistani Dholki works.


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