A Jewish wedding in Kochi
Kerala is fast catching up the fancy of prospective couples all over the world as a trendy overseas wedding destination. Many couples who come down to Keralaprefer to have an exceptional Kerala wedding where the bride and groom don the Kerala attire and dress up like any other Kerala couple. However this Jewish wedding that took place on Sunday belonged to a different genre altogether because the groom belonged to the Jewish community of Kerala.
At present only around 48 Jews remain in Kochi as the majority of them have migrated to their distant homeland after India’s independence. The Jews who had originally settled in the ancient port of Cranganore, were forced to flee to escape the Portuguese onslaught during the 14th century. It was then the Cochin Maharaja offered land in Mattancherry, where they constructed a synagogue in 1568.
This Jewish wedding brought back nostalgic memories for many Cochinites as the city woke up on Sunday to a long cherished Jewish wedding, which took place after almost two decades. In the Paradesi Synagogue in the old Jewish town in Mattancherry, Solomon and Susan were united in marriage on Sunday at 5.30 p.m. Only a select gathering of guests were allowed to witness this wedding, which was held behind closed doors amidst very tight security in the wake of the recent terror strikes in the Jewish installations in Mumbai.
The marriage was conducted as per the Jewish customs. Nine candles to denote the ninth day of the Jewish Hanukkah festival were lit and the blessing in Aramaic was read out, which is something exceptional to Kochi Jews. The guests applauded when the groom slipped the wine-soaked wedding ring on the bride’s finger, which was followed by the unique ritual of breaking a wineglass, which is followed by only Jews in Kerala to denote the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem. This wedding was also different from other Jewish weddings in that it was the chief warden , Samuel Hallegua, who read out the seven blessings in Hebrew and not the rabbi.