Welcome to the Sisterhood of the Traveling Igorota
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Oh, and the sister of the bride, too!
Aren't they all lovely?
The wedding was held on November 1 and 2, also the first two days of the Bon Om Tuok (Water Festival) in Phnom Penh. So while about 2million people (according to the papers here) gathered at the riverside to watch the boat-racing competition, Khmer Iggy, R and I were witnesses to a fairytale-like Khmer wedding.
Traditionally, Khmer weddings last for three days and are done at the bride's home. Nowadays, the ceremony is shortened to only one day. Our landlord's daughter's wedding, however, was held for two days (may kaya sila). Despite the shortened ceremony, it is still rife with elaborate rituals, costume changes (not only of the bride but also of the groom, their attendants, and their parents), and not to forget the food and merry-making!
Here are some of the photos that we took:
These dancers represent the devadas (or deities, similar to apsaras), who performed a dance ritual representing their enchantment with the beauty of the new couple, and to personally cleanse and purify the bride and groom to bring them good fortune, beauty, and grace for the rest of their lives.
Following the dance ritual is ka'ak sak, or the hair-cutting ceremony. Another symbolic ritual representing a fresh start to their new life together as husband and wife. Family and friends take turn to symbolically cut the bride and groom's hair and give them well-wishes.
Bang chhat opok-mdei, honoring of the parents. A traditional song is played as a reminder to the couple, especially the bride, of the hardships of child-raising, and of parental duty that they will be facing in the future.
I forgot what this ritual is called... married relatives and friends of the bride and groom take turn to give advise and blessing to the couple and present them with something.
The two-day ceremony ended with a lavish dinner reception at Mondial Center, a popular wedding reception venue in Phnom Penh. It was fun! The reception area was full of guests, all-smiling and happiness written all over their faces. A 7-course Chinese-Khmer meal was served and it was sumptuous! The drinks were overflowing and Khmer music was blasting. Khmer Iggy wondered though that, despite the yummy-licious food served that night, rice was served last.
Looking at the bride and groom, Khmer Iggy thought that they look too young to be husband and wife that they seemed to be more like the homecoming King and Queen, don't you think so too?