Monday, December 28, 2009

Mr. Xay's Wedding

Boxing Day was very different this year, and very special too. I felt honoured to get an invitation to Mr. Xay's wedding, one of the local Lao teachers i've been working alongside at Wat Sop School.

So Sue-Ann, a fellow volunteer, ChanSipheng and myself, dressind in our finest (traditional Lao Sinhs for us ladies!) attended the ceremony held inside the family home.
It was a Buddhist ceremony, and the bride and groom looked wonderful in their costumes.
It was an hour or so long, and included the baci ceremony which is a uniquely Lao boun (festival). The ceremony was centred around the phakhouan, a designer tree made from banana leaves, flowers and candles, which is then surrounded by symbolic foods.

The ceremnony finally included cotton threads (sai sin) being tied around the bride and grooms wrists.

We then joined the wedding party! As we entered through the archway of pink and red balloons we posted our wedding gifts (money in the invitation envelope as is the custom) in one of the brightly coloured boxes, and were welcomed in by some beautiful traditionally dressed Lao ladies and a shot of whiskey!

We were seated at one of the many tables, close to the live music and all the action, to enjoy a hearty spread of many types of Lao foods, washed down with Lao beer - of course!
We ate and listened to the singing and music, as the new bride and groom circulated the many tables of guests making sure everyone was enjoying themselves and offereing more shots of Black Label whiskey.

Finally it was time to dance! Traditional Lao dancing is very gentle and elegant. I had great fun, even though i have two left feet and danced very badly. But everyone seemed delighted i was having a go!

Tricia, along with some of the other volunteers then arrived, from yet another wedding on the same day.

We all had a great time attempting more dances and eating and drinking a lot more too.

I was touched by how incredibly warm, friendly and welcoming all of the guests were. And i love the fact everyone smiles so much of the time here!
So thank you Mr. Xay for inviting me. What a wonderful day here in sunny Luang Prabang!