Should your wedding* really be to die for?
Wedding, gathering, house party, Thanksgiving dinner -- regardless of what the function is, we all need to ask ourselves and each other, is it worth it? Because the only answer that could possibly make sense in a pandemic, is that it’s not.
Over the weekend, and over the course of the last two months, COVID numbers in BC have seen a massive spike, with the Fraser Health Region leading the charge.
Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry mentioned in October that multi-day functions, such as weddings and funerals were to blame for the large increase in cases and transmission of COVID-19.
Some gatherings were reported to municipalities, and bylaw officers have been issuing tickets for violations, but as the numbers continue to shatter records, and are far greater than the start of the pandemic, it is time for us to take a certain level of accountability.
While the numbers are not exclusive to the South Asian community, and there are certainly not only people of South Asian descent having gatherings, weddings, or functions, there is a certain point where it becomes important to be honest with ourselves, for the sake of keeping each other safe, and preventing the spread any further.
At this point, most young people in the community know someone who has gotten COVID, and an alarming number of people know someone who has gotten COVID specifically from a wedding. These are simply the facts, and they are irrefutable.
Whether you or someone you know have attended a wedding, or you’ve heard the music blasting at your neighbour’s house until 2AM, we simply cannot pretend it’s not happening.
We recognize that weddings, gatherings, family and community, are huge pillars in the South Asian community. We recognize that weddings represent a huge milestone, one that parents begin to prepare for as soon as their child is born, and that they eagerly anticipate as a central part of their children’s lives.
While most weddings, whether you agree with it or not, end up being the biggest celebration in the lives of most South Asian people, it really does make you wonder if your big fat Indian wedding should be to die for.
Through the grapevine, we’ve heard multiple stories of dozens of people getting sick from a single function, or people attempting to skirt around the rules by inviting different groups of 50 people to their homes or backyards for their wedding functions.
Dancefloors (although they are technically banned under COVID-19 guidelines), buffet-style feasts, and inviting every person you’ve ever met, are common occurrences in most lavish Indian weddings in normal circumstances.
But we must all admit that current circumstances are far from normal.
Whether or not these stories are verifiable, the images of grand weddings on social media, and the stories from wedding vendors who are fearing losing their livelihoods, but are witnessing multiple violations of the COVID rules, show that there is a huge problem, and the record-high number of cases concentrated in the Fraser Health region only confirm the need to crack down on the big fat Indian wedding industrial complex.
In a culture and community where our seniors are such central pillars of our homes and communities, it is alarming to see the ways that so many are trying to find loopholes to COVID guidelines and rules, instead of recognizing that those very guidelines are in place to protect our most vulnerable.
If the virus were disproportionately impacting young people, our seniors would do anything within their power to keep us safe.
You don’t think it’ll happen to you, until it does -- and it’s happening in astronomical numbers, and we simply cannot deny that reality.
At the same time, however, the ugly racism targeting the South Asian community online as a result of the spike in numbers is appalling to see, and is quite frankly unacceptable.
The high numbers in the Fraser Health region are not exclusive to the South Asian community and South Asian weddings. Dr. Bonnie Henry has also cited other weddings, funerals, Thanksgiving dinners and other gatherings as sources of transmission.
There have likely been weddings, gatherings, or parties without a single case to come out of them because for the most part, people are following the rules. But the sad reality is that all it takes is one sick person attending a function, which is why we have to ask ourselves if it is truly necessary in the first place.
Playing the blame game helps absolutely no one, and what we are suggesting instead is to move from blame to accountability and community care -- holding one another accountable to keep our entire communities safe, so that when this is all over, we can have the most epic hall parties known to humankind.
Let’s all do our part and keep each other safe. Communicate health information, the latest statistics and guidelines to your parents and loved ones so that they are also aware of ways to stay safe and healthy.
Better times will come. Protecting our loved ones, and doing our part now, is how we will get through this.
Click here for the BC Centre for Disease Control's pandemic guidelines.