Wedding in Vientiane

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Posted by Giom | Posted in Laos, On the road | Posted on 22-12-2013

Wedding in Vientiane

My long term stop in Vientiane has really been nice! I finally managed to write and refine the European project report. But the best was to attend to the wedding of Malayvanh’s sister, Lao style !

I took a overnight bus from Pakse to Vientiane. Once in Vientiane, the weather is mild , around 25°C, I wear t-shirt and shorts , and that from the south of China, or from the beginning of June 2013!

I am truly treated like a family member, I help to cook from time to time, to tidy, to walk 81 years old grandfather who has Alzheimer’s disease but still remembers some words in French … Anyway, I really feel at home!

So, being here around, I saw the wedding preparations gradually taking shape during three weeks. I felt the tension of the family increase with the approach of December 5th, 2013 , a Thursday. Despite the very cool and relaxed attitude Laos, I feel that the marriage of their youngest daughter , Penh, stress them in a way.
Invitation list , invitation letters to pass from hand to hand to formally invite family, friends, neighbors, acquaintances … Friends are coming over more and more often to help wash the house, the garden, installing barnums outside …

On the wedding day I also have to dress properly ! But obviously I do not have suitable clothes! So I borrowed a shirt to an uncle who lives in Japan, the groom’s shoes and pants bought at the market because nothing long enough for me to be borrowed from one of the family member. And even a second shirt for the evening. I am used to wear the same baggy clothes for 18 months, it feels weird to put a shirt and tight pants! In short, I play the game and when I see how people dress well I understand better.

The morning of the wedding , friends and family of the groom go to him to take him from his family to his future wife’s family . Interesting because Uzbekistan was the opposite ! See ” Wedding in Samarkand ” < / a>

When passing the threshold of the courtyard surrounding the house, the groom is pushed from everywhere, glasses of whiskey reaching his lips from all sides, happy shouts of friends and family around him fuse. Excitement, joy and big smiles (those,really happy, despite the omnipresent smile in Asia).

Then all the guests who come “vote” in the ballot box with the envelope they received, but this time with money inside to help the family with expenses of the wedding. Two glasses of whiskey for the couples who arrive. I had the bad idea to get alone to “vote” and there are still two glasses of whiskey ! “You know that’s the tradition, 2 glasses or nothing ” I just drunk one for the occasion, what I never do ! Let’s go for a second one and everything will be fine ! It’s party day, isn’t it ?

Finally the groom when reaching the threshold of the house, has to take off his shoes , like everyone else , but his feet are washed and put on branches of a kind of pine. Tradition, but I do not know the meaning.

And finally the wedding ceremony itself. The groom sits facing what I would call a “flower tree”, and finally the future groom join. To my surprise , there is no monk in orange attending to the Wedding Ceremony. This is a civilian person who will celebrate the couple’s union . He recites a text and Buddhist mantras repeated by moment by the guests. Sometimes in a kind of shouts on a rising intonation creating a sound communion of all those present, often ending with jovial and excited laughter.

Exchanging wedding rings, prayer hands clasped in front of “tree flower”, from parents, elders. All this takes about half an hour. Then pictures before the “flower-tree” with the family, friends and co.

And while everyone rushes to the meal, the newly married couple, goes to the room that will be theirs. The bed is covered with petals of red roses and banknotes, to bring love and happiness (In Asia happiness is increasingly associated with money ) .

Follows an infinite meals until 4pm . Laotian music , dance outstretched arms and body straight . It’s quite funny as a way to dance for me ! Barbecue : the family bought a pig they cut and cooked in Laap in skewers, ribs , all with plenty of vegetables and drizzled with “Beer Lao” .

7pm, then held the “official” restaurant meals. More than 200 people (according to organizers) go to the ballroom to celebrate! There clothes are even more beautiful and shimmering than in the morning. Women spent several hours getting makeup, manicure, getting smooth and/or curling hair . let’s “packs” all of it in a dress specially made ??for the occasion with a silk cloth. Obviously it’s not very comfortable, but I admit that the women are very beautiful!

Photo shoot session with the family in festive dress, two or three words from the entertainer/speaker of the evening and everyone rushes on buffet meals ! Obviously I enjoy it and can not stop eating, slowly :)

A band takes the hits of the moment after playing music for elder people. Youth takes place on the dance floor. Whisky continues to flow afloat, actually there is nothing else like drinking alcohol .

The celebration continues at the home of Penh’s family , the bride with her friends. Late into the night. personnaly, I go to bed and am happy to leave my penguin costume !

The next day the barnums are dismantled with family and friends.

2 days more and I’m back on the road!
Direction Phitsanulok Thailand .
I made my Burmese visa in Vientiane.
My bike is in Phitsanulok .
I take the train to Chiang Mai for a Thai massage course .

Burma will be the next adventure !

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