Sunday, December 02, 2007

A wedding

The wedding starts off with a procession to the bride's house. Leh's sister and her best friend are on either side of him, with an uncle playing music on the tradition Lao reed instrument, called the khaen. The groom carries a collection of symbolic things needed for a marriage - such as soap for purification and a needle to mend arguments - in the red shoulder bag.

At some point the bride's family will challenge the groom. Does he really want to do this? Is he willing to pay whatever price? Here, the challenge is 12 crates of beer, 2 bottles of alcohol, and some money (all of these were waiting in the back of the bride's house, for the reception.

Then he also has to get past the bride's female relatives. The banana leaf is placed for the groom to step on, and his relatives symbolically wash his feet before he tries to enter the house. A woman's metal belt blocks the wait - and the women will only let him pass if they approve.
The actual wedding ceremony is led by a Mor Phone, an elder who has been a Buddhist monk and chants both Buddhist prayers and special wishes for the marriage.

After the party in the afternoon, there's also a reception in the evening. Everyone has a good time.

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