Vegan Hindu Wedding in Singapore: A Trendsetter for All the Right Reasons
As a part of Raise Vegan’s newly introduced ‘People of Veganism‘ series, let me inform you about a vegan Hindu wedding in Singapore that deserves the spotlight for all the right reasons. I got a chance to talk to the bride, Mangalarubini, and as expected it turned out to be an educating moment for me. Seeing people from all walks of life- race, ethnicity, religion, and geography- come together to promote a cruelty-free lifestyle, is one of the proudest moments for vegans all across the world. Did I hear someone complaining that veganism is just a trend? Well, all the naysayers will be waking up to a rude shock! Veganism is here to STAY!
From being a plant-based diet to transcending into a cruelty
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This Vegan Hindu Wedding in Singapore is a Trendsetter for All the Right Reasons
Singapore couple Mangalarubini and her fiancé, Kabillan opted for a vegan wedding in spite of people not being too amused with their choices. In Mangalarubini’s own words, “People laughed and mocked us by thinking we were being ridiculous to even care for all these. Most of them didn’t think it was a big deal, and cows being tortured for milk is just ‘the nature of things.’ But I am glad my husband was supportive of this, and it was just a matter of replacing an item with something else more suitable.”
How did they turn the wedding vegan?
According to Mangalarubini, the idea of a vegan wedding actually started out after she read a blog online about a vegan housewarming prayer. She herself opted for a cruelty-free housewarming prayer the same way, and with that, she learned it’s possible for Hindu prayers to take place without the presence of animal products. The priest did have his concerns about changing thousands of years old traditions but he was nice enough to listen to the reasons and understood Mnagalarubini and her to-be husband’s wishes for not wanting to include any products that were obtained with cruelty.
Elaborating on how the couple veganized their Hindu wedding, Mangalarubini quips, “At first, the temple priest was stunned, but he was accommodating and suggested to use soy-milk, and Dalda (a plant-based concoction) to keep the “Agni” (holy fire) burning. And glad to say the priest wasn’t as taken aback as many people were when we told them we were avoiding animal products in our wedding. Most of them were not aware that Hindu prayers can even take place without ghee and/or milk.”
Vegan clothes and makeup
With the news of her vegan Hindu wedding breaking out, Mangalarubini was in a fix on learning from several sources that it is kind of mandatory for a bride to adorn a pure silk sari. It is believed silk wards off any “evil eyes” set on the bride. While talking to Raise Vegan, Mangalarubini reveals, “[The statement] did not convince me one bit. I had a belief too, and I wanted to stand up for it. I researched this, and I learned I wasn’t the only bride who wore a non-silk sari for her wedding. I was inspired to bring this change in Singapore.”
With the help of her mother and sister in-law, she sourced the perfect wedding saris that were just as beautiful and not made of silk.
As for makeup, Mangalarubini made sure that her makeup artist used 100% vegan products. Her make-up artist, Malini Michell, is an ardent animal lover herself. She organized a trial session and showed all the products to the bride. Speaking of the experience, Mangalarubini says, “I am glad my makeup was perfect because I was able to share with my friends that make up products doesn’t necessarily have to go through animal testing to work on your skin, so I encouraged them to start requesting for their makeup artists to use cruelty-free products on them.”
What about the food?
“My guests loved the vegan food we served at the wedding. Our caterers avoided using ghee in the rice, and in place of cow’s milk for our dessert, ‘Payasam,’ they used coconut milk, which was a big hit,” adds Mangalarubini.
Support from husband and his family
Mangalarubini was pleasantly surprised by the support she received from her family, husband, and in-laws. Her brother in-law and his wife have been vegan for almost a decade, which made her even more confident of the choices she made. (I wish everyone had such supporting and loving family.)
The not-so-cool reactions and the challenges she faced in organizing a vegan Hindu wedding
As in any case, no vegan wedding is complete without someone not being cool with the bride and groom’s choices. They faced arguments from the very strict followers of the traditions. Mangalarubini elaborates on the experience, “I heard comments on how disrespectful we were being towards “Komatha” (A Hindu deity of a Cow) by not using milk and ghee in our prayers to thank her. I don’t know how true, except that it’s a strong belief. But I did not argue further because what matters most was I was able to do the prayers in peace, knowing nothing was tortured to perform my sacred ceremony. And God will understand the usage of products, obtained by torturing mother cows and killing calves, is far from respect to our traditions.”
Another challenge she faced was finding a makeup artist who would be respectful to her wishes. Apart from Malini, most of the makeup artists could not promise they will use cruelty-free products. She explains, “It was upsetting to think a majority of makeup business evolve with products that are tested on animals and not every makeup artist is aware or mindful to source for cruelty-free products. I have had a few makeup artists who were surprised at my request to use only cruelty-free makeup products. This made me feel the Indian bridal makeup industry is either unaware of animal testing, or even if they are, there is deliberate ignorance towards it, thinking it’s just a norm.”
Mangalarubini’s journey towards veganism
Mangalarubini has been an animal lover since she was a child. She embraced veganism in 2018, ditching the last animal product in her diet: cheese. Commenting on her journey towards an ethical lifestyle, Mangalarubini elaborates, “I thought I can never give up on cheese. However, my conscience never let me enjoy a slice of cheese pizza. Hence, I started to force myself to make lifestyle changes. It was tough at first until I joined vegan support groups on Facebook and everyone motivated me. I got introduced to vegan alternatives, such as coconut milk ice cream, cheese alternatives and many more. It’s been more than a year, and I no longer crave for any animal products. I have never felt more healthy and comfortable. And I am glad my friends and family are learning traditions can be changed in the way where we can show kindness to every living creature.”
Mangalarubini’s story is inspiring, isn’t it? We hope more and more people opt for vegan weddings and make the world a beautiful cruelty-free place for animals.