Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The Wedding

Ok, here are the pictures I promised.
This first one is of the bride and groom in their traditional attire. They look great don't they? At the beginning of the wedding they offer incense to the household altar, and then the monks start chanting. How many there are depends on how much money you have. This one had 4, which is average. The monks chat for a good hour, but I missed most of that because Pi'Kee and I came late. In fact we came an hour late, and the ceremony was still going on. Basically, they make a halo of string for the bride and for the groom that are attached together by one string. Then one string coming off of each of these goes and touches the head of all their relatives who sit around them. This signifies the exchange of families. Each one is given to the family of the other. Then there is more and more chanting. They also exchange rings at some point here.
Then they have a break and go for pictures. During the first whole hour of chanting, everyone else in the house (they get married at the house they are going to move into) is kneeling with their hands in a prayer position. And there I was, the only foreigner, running around with my camera trying not to be too obvious but still trying to record stuff and not offend anyone. There were nice.
Anyways, after that, the bride and groom come back in and are blessed by a person who has had a long and successful marriage, who then ties their hands together. Then, each person that is older than them at the marriage comes and ties a string around each of their wrists and gives a blessing - have babies, have money, have happiness, have health etc.
When that has been accomplished, they do the "most interesting" thing. Everyone that's around grabes a string the trails behind the bride and groom who are tied to each other and to the bouquet you see in this picture, and they all parade up to the marital bedroom.
Then, the same person who had such a long marriage that he tied them together also gets on the bed first. He lies down briefly to "bless" it. Then the couple lies down and gets back up. And then the elder rips apart the string binding everyone together while saying something I could not understand.
The ceremonies are over and the party begins. The ceremonies started at 7am, and it was about 11:30 by the time they finished. We ate on table set out in the street in front of their house, covered by tents. It was great food. Northern Thai, and not too spicy, except for one soup. The alcohol also flowed freely, but I think that's true of weddings everywhere.
Then we hung out until about 3. I was exhausted because of little sleep the night before, a really long two weeks and the heat from sitting outside for so long. So Pi'Kee asked if I wanted to go to her house to watch a "video". I said sure, after all, a movie is not so bad. She put in her wedding video. Which actually did two things. It helped me understand what I'd missed or only partially seen in the first hour and a half. It also made me glad the wedding I'd attended on such an exhausted day was so uncomplicated. Pi'Kee's wedding went from 7am until midnight, included a parade, a traditional "opening of the doors" bartering between the bride and groom's family, an evening reception, karaoke, a dance and probably some other things I forgetting. That would kill me in Canada, let alone in a place where I have no clue what is going on and almost no one to talk to. Yup, the 2 hour video was more than enough.

On Sunday, I biked to the railway station and saw the Vanguard team off. Now they are in Hong Kong, and doing well. Remember to pray for them too!
Tiffany came in today. She's a YWAMer from Mississippi (yup, I can spell it) who has now hit 13 different countries in two years, but this was her first time teaching English. So I had the pleasure of doing an orientation with her since all the other foreigners went to Burma for a Visa run.
We also had a wee bit of an adventure getting her from the airport. Her plane was arriving from Singapore, and so Opal and I went to domestic flights to wait for her. We were sitting in the lobby chatting and waiting, and waiting and waiting. We kept asking ourselves "where is Tiffanie?" Then it occured to me that Singapore would be an international flight, and not a domestic flight. I don't know, I just followed Opal! It wasn't my fault! Anyways, so we run to the international flight lobby and it's deserted. We actually went all the way back into the back end of customs, but still nothing. All is deserted. Then we started running around the airport, but since I didn't know what she looked like and Opal had only seen a small picture, it was kind of in vain. Especially since her description was absolutely wrong. (After Opal said "I really thought she was a blond" while we looked at her really dark brown hair) Finally, I saw a girl who looked worried, had a big suitcase and was carrying a guitar. Opal said "that's her!" so I ran up and asked if she was Tiffany. And she was! All was well.


At 4:20 PM, Blogger Lady-Yvonne said...

This is too exciting.. My son has been with College bunch. He told me about riding in the back of a truck!!! So I'm not sure if he was with you. We are thrilled he has this opportunity! I just got your blog from the College website.
Blessings to you. We had a Thai gentleman stay in our home for a whole summer. He was doing his internship with us. Sritone Yaothanee was his name.

At 6:32 AM, Blogger Bethany said...


No, I didn't see your son. The group that came to my city was an all-girls group. Which was a lot of fun.
It really is a great opportunity to be here. We ride in the back of trucks quite often, but I ride more often on my little orange flurry, my bicycle. Or on other people's motorbikes. But I rather like my little bike.


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