Tag Archives: desi


The informant is one of my Pakistani friends who has lived in many different countries, yet is very attached to the culture of his heritage and is very involved in the rituals, ceremonies and overall traditions that are tied to his roots in Pakistan.


The informant describes this dance, the Luddi, as a “circular formation that people dance to”. This dance entails the “clapping of their hands and spinning in circles as they are still moving in a circle.” Although the dance is not usually performed for a certain scenario or moment, it is “usually done at celebrations and ceremonies like weddings and dinners with the family” who are brought together and dance to specific songs that link to the informant’s culture. He describes his times watching the Luddi as a “coming together when [they] have not seen each other in a long time” and celebrating the family or a certain event happening at the time. It is always performed in Pakistan when the entire family joins, his family always visits to “celebrate their cousins, aunts, uncles and all the elders that have given us the privilege we have” conveying the importance of the dance in Punjabi culture.


The Luddi is typically done with “the group of women in the family that are important to the celebration or occasions” and this can range from “family of the groom or bride in a wedding or the parents and siblings of the birthday person.” The joining together of the women in a circle gives them a chance to “celebrate in a space without the men involved”. Although it is usually performed by older women in the family, younger women around the age of the bride and/or person of significance are able to join the dance and “learn the significance of what it means to become an adult woman” in the family that has their culture embedded into their daily lives. Luddi is msot typically seen in the winter and spring when all the family members come back from their travels for the wedding season, therefore, it allows the women to not only celebrate the occasion but also the family and other women.


The formation of a circle as part of the dance highlights the cycle of their culture and the generations that come together to form a chain that connects. It is creating a personal connection between the women of the family in that certain moment, growing as the girls grow and join the dance to celebrate each other. The clapping of their hands emphasises the celebration of the occasion and also creates a unified sound that the woman can sing and dance to, establishing their heritage and Punjabi culture in the form of performance and expression of their joy into feelings. The incorporation of this dance at weddings, which is also presented to be an important and momentous part of the culture in South Asia, highlights how the family is the base of their culture and even the women have their own traditions and rituals that create unity. Furthermore, the circle growing highlights the chain of Punjabi women in the family growing and the representation of the elders teaching the younger traditions to keep the culture alive.


My informant is a Pakistani male that has lived in many different countries across the world, yet his attachment to Pakistan and its culture plays a significant role in his life and how he lives.

Traditional Food:

Mithai is a “type of box or category of sweets” that exist within Pakistani culture. It is comprised of “different sweet treats and toffees that you give out to houses at the weddings.” He describes these sweets as a form of an invite for party favours that occur at the wedding. The sweets are often seen as a ‘thank you’ or token of appreciation and reminder of the wedding, they are the “staple sweets at Pakistani weddings”


The Mithai is usually made by certain stores in Pakistan that specialize in providing the sweets “on a large scale when they also are able to maintain the best quality” for the guests. Even though my informant is Pakistani and has seen these sweets at weddings and different family events that he has attended, it is “a general desi traditional sweet that also exists in India”. This sweet is provided before the dinner or reception as a sort of snack or small bite in order to keep the guests satiated and entertained for the long day of traditions ahead.


The incorporation of food into big events in Pakistan such as weddings allows the guests to feel like they are being cared for in a certain environment. It ties it back to their culture as the unified feeling of togetherness that is provided in the event is seen through Pakistani food as a whole which is usually made for sharing and family-oriented events. The ability that their culture possesses by bringing their families together with food allows them to maintain their connections with the children and set in place the values that they hold when prioritising family. Furthermore, this is seen in the wedding sweets as the guests are seen as part of the family and are given the opportunity to celebrate the day with the community whilst being fed and incorporated into a family tradition.

Joota Chupai – Shoe Stealing

ZN describes a prank/game that is commonly played at weddings in their culture. They are a second generation immigrant from Pakistan who lives in the Bay Area. Their family is Muslim.

ZN.) So, when a couple gets married – a bride and groom – the bride’s family, usually like the younger siblings or cousins of the bride, will steal the groom’s shoes and then they’ll go hide them somewhere and the groom’s family has to try and get the shoes, but they never do. And then the groom has to buy the shoes back from the bride’s family because they’re like, ‘oh you’re taking away or our sister or cousin,’ or whatever. It’s like, ‘we’re taking your shoes’ and then the groom is like, ‘I’ll pay you a lot of money for the shoes.’ So, then It’s like a huge, like, bargaining thing and the groom will be like, ‘Oh how about like $200’ and then the bride’s family will go like, ‘No we want $1000.’ The groom will be like, ‘No, but I’m broke. I won’t have any money to pay for my new wife’s food,’ and they’re like, ‘no give us more money.’ Anyway, so then they usually settle on, like, $500 or something, and then with our family, the entire family the of the bride will go to like Ihop after the wedding and we’ll spend it all on Ihop, like, pancakes and hot chocolate

Me.) Where do you usually see this? Is it your family specifically or have you seen any version of this at other weddings for the shoe stealing?

ZN.) I don’t know if it’s a South Asian, or maybe just Muslim Pakistani, thing but the shoe stealing is like a common thing.

This seems to be a practice of the game Joota Chupai, literally translating to ‘Shoe Hiding’. This wedding tradition is most often observed by Desi groups (south Asians) in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and other surrounding countries. In this game the bride’s family will steal the groom’s shoes, which in Hindu culture, they must have to leave or enter the wedding venue. The groom’s family will try to find the shoes to get them back to the groom, usually to no avail, and then the bride’s family will demand money to return the shoes to the groom. This tradition allows the two families to have some fun during long wedding ceremonies and brings them closer together through competition. Even though the tradition seems to stem from Hinduism, it seems that Muslims from the surrounding regions picked up the tradition as well, showing cultural mixing within the area despite religious tensions. JK, another South Asian individual hailing from Gujarat, India had this to say about the game:

JK.) It’s played all over India. Everyone does it at weddings, so it’s not a Hindu or Muslim thing, it’s everyone.