Sunday, February 20, 2005

Vientiane Sunday

This time of the year, there are a lot of weddings and bouns. Today's festival is Boun Thawait, which actually goes on in different villages and temples through the month. I forget the story, so I'll have to look it up and post later. It's a much bigger occassion here than in Xieng Khouang. Anyway, people get together and collect money, then carry their offerings on a tree, a branch decorated by flowers and leaves of money stapled together, like a weeping willow. They bring the money to the temple.

Then they are many weddings. They start out with a parade of the groom's friends and relatives to the bride's house. The group requests permission to enter, while the group on the bride's side will give the groom more or less grief about his motives. Once he's allowed in (which always happens), there is a baci ceremony in the morning, where a village elder gives blessings and then everyone ties strings on the wrists of the young couple.

The rest of the afternoon is devoted to eating and drinking and playing loud contrasting music. Now things are quieting down.

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