Bet you've never gone to a Hindu wedding, let alone even been invited to one since Phoenix seems light years away from India. But you'll get a chance to witness almost the real thing at the annual Diwali Festival of Lights, put on by the India Association of Phoenix and its sister organizations, which are too numerous to list here.
Last year, the festival celebrating Diwali, a major fall holiday in India and Nepal, celebrated its sixth anniversary, and it seems to get bigger, grander, and more colorful every year. One of the festival's highlights was a fascinating reproduction of both an Oriya wedding ceremony (traditionally held along India's eastern coast, in the state of Orissa) and nuptial rites from Bihar, a state in India's northeast. During both, a narrator gives a play-by-play of connubial rituals as you ogle a make-believe bride and groom, who are decked out in over-the-top gorgeous Hindu wedding finery that we'd love to wear to work sometime. Mercifully, the ceremonies do not last four or five days, as they usually do in India.
If weddings aren't your thing, the festival has plenty of classical Indian dance performances, yoga demonstrations, astrology and Ayurvedic medicine lectures, and Indian cooking demos to keep you busy. Not to mention, you can get your chakras aligned. After last year's wedding performance, we systematically grazed at each one of the festival's food booths, in between which we snapped photos of Miss India Arizona and shopped for Indian arts, crafts, clothing, and jewelry.