If you read last week’s blog you know that the Kavant Fair in India is the Rathva Tribe’s opportunity to show off their traditions. It’s a very happy time for the people of the area.
The Kavant Fair, while an opportunity for the tribal males to show off their proud heritage and hip flicking abilities, costumes and body painting, another but unspoken purpose is match making.
The Rathvas, ancient tribe from the eastern part of Gujarat, people come to the town of Kavant once a year to dance and chant and parade about. They come from small villages or hamlets of a dozen families or so. As you can imagine, there must be great curiosity about the young people from different villages. At the fair they get a chance to look at each other, maybe make contact, and who knows what could happen. Love and romance?
The girls get themselves all dolled up in new and gorgeous saris and all the jewelry they own. I found it very interesting that the girls in each village wore matching saris. Clearly before the Fair they had to get together to pick the pattern and color for the year.
I can only imagine the conversation—maybe with strong feelings–over the color and pattern.
One might point out that last year they wore red so this year they might think about gold. Another might be partial to green. Oh, how I’d love to be in the conversation and see how the decisions are made.
I really got a kick out of watching them make their way up and down the streets, peering out behind the head scarves, demure and sweet. Many declined when I asked to take pictures, others posed but shyly.
At one point it occurred to me that they were like bridesmaids at a wedding, all dressed alike, only this was pre-engagement.
There seemed to be a progression from the fair ground where the tribal dancing was going on (see last’s weeks blog post about the Kavant Fair) and the other side of town with the Ferris wheel and fun.
The boys on the other hand were pretty obnoxious. They traveled in large packs and blew loud horns at us. I’m wondering if they thought this was attractive. Maybe they were so nervous with all those beautiful young women and girls around they didn’t know how to behave.
I do understand that they do drink a bit at the Fair, not legal in Gujarat, so maybe that had something to do with the goofy behavior. Maybe it was just teenaged boys behaving like teenaged boys, needing the influence of good young women to settle them down.
Clearly this was the place for that to happen.