Rachael and Pooya Rezai eat dejected blah concoction during their acceptable Navajo bells commemoration in a hogan on the Navajo Nation Reservation.(Photo: Brian Passey / For The Spectrum & Daily News)
As a anchorman I accede myself a apprentice of activity and an charlatan of culture. What I adulation best about my job is the befalling to consistently apprentice and acquaintance new things.
That’s what this account cavalcade is all about. Last month, my aide Emily Havens wrote about her aboriginal time snowboarding. This month’s cavalcade will focus on my aboriginal acquaintance at a acceptable Navajo wedding.
One of my wife’s best friends, Rachael, is half-Navajo. She afresh became affianced to Pooya, who is Persian and came to the United States back he was alone 10 years old as a refugee from Iran. They absitively to ally in a acceptable Navajo commemoration on the Navajo Nation Catch in Arizona, followed by a acceptable Persian anniversary in San Diego, area Pooya grew up.
I was accustomed back they asked me to photograph the big day on the rez. While I don’t commonly do account photography, I agreed because they were accompany and, admittedly, I was absorbed by the befalling to photograph a acceptable Navajo wedding.
It additionally fabricated me nervous. Because of my history accoutrement the bounded Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah, I knew that assertive built-in traditions are sacred. Not alone did I analysis with Rachael and Pooya, but I additionally asked some of Rachael’s ancestors if there were any genitalia of the commemoration I should abstain photographing. The alone instructions came in the anatomy of how I photographed the ceremony, not what I photographed.
My wife, Cammie, and I accustomed at Seba Dalkai, Arizona, on the catch a little afterwards 9 a.m. on Feb. 18. We had backward the antecedent night at the celebrated La Posada Hotel in Winslow, Arizona, about 40 afar to the south, area we had additionally dined at the hotel’s restaurant, The Turquoise Room. I had a few added firsts there as far as food: quail, deer, agrarian animal and a acceptable Hopi aliment alleged Piki.
Rachael and Pooya Rezai affectation for photos at their acceptable Navajo bells commemoration on the Navajo Nation Reservation. (Photo: Brian Passey / For The Spectrum & Daily News)
We began the bells day by allowance Rachael and Pooya dress in their acceptable Navajo clothing. Rachael wore a red and atramentous rug dress that was alloyed accurately for her. Pooya adopted a azure award shirt from one of Rachael’s relatives. They both absolute their dress with handmade Navajo jewelry.
The commemoration takes abode central a hogan (or hooghan), which is a acceptable Navajo dwelling. Few hogans are acclimated today as dwellings but they are still activated for acceptable ceremonies. While the appearance of hogans vary, they all allotment a accepted affection of doors that face east. The hogan at Seba Dalkai is multi-sided, which gives a faculty of adequateness central that works in affiliation with the ceremony.
We were brash that back affective central the hogan, we are consistently declared to about-face in a clockwise direction. That includes entering the hogan. Because Pooya did not accept as abounding ancestors associates at the bells as Rachael, we planned to sit on the groom’s ancillary of the hogan — the arctic side. However, as we entered the hogan from the east, we could not aloof about-face to the appropriate to sit on that side. Aboriginal we had to about-face to the larboard and airing through the hogan in a clockwise administration to ability the arctic side.
When it was time for the commemoration to begin, Pooya and his ancestors entered first. Pooya sat on the west ancillary of the hogan, adverse east, and his ancestors sat on the arctic side, to his left. Again Rachael and her ancestors entered, Rachael sitting to the appropriate of Pooya on the west ancillary while her ancestors abounding the south side.
After we were all seated, the officiator, Dr. Joe Shirley Jr., provided an addition to the traditions and declared the adjustment of events. Shirley served as admiral of the Navajo Nation from 2002-2011.
The acceptable Navajo — or Diné — bells is based on the alliance of the adolescent alpha White Shell Woman and the Sun God in the White World, according to an commodity about Navajo and European amount systems at NavajoCourts.org.
In advanced of Rachael and Pooya were a basal of items, including a pot of water, a alembic dipper and a august bells bassinet abounding with dejected blah mush. The bassinet is to abide in abode in advanced of the brace throughout the ceremony.
Pooya Rezai pours baptize over the easily of his bride, Rachael, during their acceptable Navajo bells commemoration in a hogan on the Navajo Nation Reservation. (Photo: Brian Passey / For The Spectrum & Daily News)
The commemoration again began with Rachael application the dipper to cascade baptize over Pooya’s easily and again Pooya accomplishing the aforementioned for her.
Shirley again performed a absolution on the concoction by admixture blah pollen on the it, afterward a specific set of admonition to actualize a cantankerous appearance in the centermost and again in a clockwise administration about the perimeter, alpha from the east but not anchor the circle. According to the commodity at NavajoCourts.org, the amphitheater is larboard accessible to the east to represent “an access and avenue for the way of life.”
Then Pooya took a dab of blah concoction from the east ancillary of the bassinet to eat and Rachael did the same. They again the action for anniversary of the basal admonition and assuredly from the centermost of the mush.
With this bistro of the mush, Rachael and Pooya became a affiliated couple.
Their families were again arrive to appear advanced and additionally eat. Again anybody at the commemoration did the same, anniversary of us afterward a clockwise avenue through the hogan to dip our fingers into the bells bassinet and eat.
Following the ceremony, it is acceptable for ancestors members, abnormally elders, to action admonition to the new couple. Some of Rachael’s earlier ancestors offered their admonition in the Navajo language.
After about a dozen bodies spoke, Pooya’s ancestors presented Rachael’s ancestors with the allowance of a Persian rug from Iran. Until that point I hadn’t fabricated the affiliation that rug-making is an important cultural identifier of both the Navajo and Persian cultures.
Then it was time for a added Western-style celebration. The anniversary confused from Seba Dalkai to a abbey architecture in Dilkon, 13 afar away.
There we dined on catered aliment alongside attitude Navajo dishes like fry aliment and mutton stew. Afterwards I photographed the block cutting, Cammie and I absitively to hit the road, active northwest through the Navajo Nation and the Hopi Catch to acknowledgment home afterwards a continued but alluring day.
Email anchorman Brian Passey at email@example.com or alarm him at 435-674-6296. Follow him on amusing media at Facebook.com/PasseyBrian or on Twitter and Instagram, @BrianPassey.
Read or Allotment this story: http://www.thespectrum.com/story/life/2017/02/23/new-me-experience-traditional-navajo-wedding/98322830/
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