Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Cambodian Wedding - Day 2

As the evening of 'Day' 1 of the wedding wore on, we noticed people arriving with bags of fruit and produce, which they started arranging on gold and silver-coloured trays.  Our friend, Tee Tee, explained the tradition and  told us to be ready at 7:00 am to join in the morning ritual. 

Early in the morning of 'Day 2' of the Cambodian wedding, the groom's family brings offerings to the bride's family.  (I believe this is symbolic of  a dowry.)  In years gone by the groom would traditionally bring 36 different kinds of fruit.  (In this tropical climate, that's probably not too difficult to come up with.)  Nowadays, the trays are filled with fruit, vegetables, meat, noodles, cookies...even cans of Coke and beer.
When we arrived, there were chairs lined up with all
the trays of offerings.

This pig's head, with a thin membranous layer over it
sat on the last chair 

Gordon wanted to carry the pig's head...

....but Choeun, our friend & tuk-tuk driver, got the honours.

Instead, Gordon carried a big plate of fresh raw pork
with a huge rind of fat and skin

....and I got to carry 4 cans of Coke.
Well, things go better with Coke!

At the head of the procession was the groom and his family

This little princess carried a covered jar,
but I don't know what was inside

Our procession was accompanied by
traditional Cambodian music
Once we arrived at the bride's home, we were given some party favours,
and we were seated, but we kept our offerings on our laps

A young man and woman brought out two baskets and
collected fruits from the various trays into the baskets.

The bride arrives in her gorgeous golden outfit.
Isn't she beautiful! 

She asks for a blessing from her parents and
gives them some garlands

The groom meets the bride outside the building and
they exchanged garlands.
We were still seated indoors.
The groom and bride re-entered the building and
bowed before the groom's parents.
I think this might be symbolic for the groom presenting his new bride to them.

After this ceremony, we all sat down to eat breakfast.  It was a congee of rice, vegetables and seafood.  I was content to eat fruit and some really neat cookies which I can only describe as dried out French cruellers.  Delicious!  We headed back to our guesthousele after the breakfast. 

To be quite honest, I'm not exactly sure when this couple actually became man and wife.  I know it didn't happen until sometime during the second day.  We were invited for the big wedding reception that evening.  It was a gala event not to be missed! 
We had our picture take outside the hall. 
I was wearing the beaded outfit I'd had made
for the wedding we attended last year.
Next to Gordon is Hahn, the doctor from Oregon
and next to Hahn is Moira, a volunteer from the UK

The bride and groom

Check out her ankle bracelets!

While dinner was being served, there was a floor show
with music and dance.  Very entertaining.
It was an 8-course dinner.  Lots of food, and plenty of beer!
This young man did a lip-sync performance of
Michael Jackson.  Very, very good!

Then the dancing began.
Notice the men wear casual shirts & pants,
but the women wear formal dresses
Most of their dancing (even the rock songs)  are done with
Apsara hand movements which are quite graceful.
It's quite usual for men to dance together, but not touching..

It's OK for women to dance together too.

This elderly couple stole the show.

It was a HUGE hall, and there were probably about 800 guests.    You must be wondering how the couple can afford a wedding this elaborate?  They rely on generous wedding gifts.  Here in Cambodia, the traditional gift is money and there are envelopes on each table for that purpose.  And so we wondered how much to give?  A good question....

  Our friend and tuk-tuk driver told us he usually gives $15, which is probaby at least a week's salary for him, so we gauged ourselves by his measuring stick.  Prom has been such a good friend to us, and we were so honoured to be a part of his wedding.  It was such a great experience and we had so much fun!

Congratulations Prom and Sreymau.  Obah sa-toh!

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