Monday, October 27, 2008

Thai-Style Wedding

the main purpose of my trip to Bangkok this time was to attend my friend's wedding.
it was my first time to attend a "Thai-style" wedding. very interesting to see how different cultures celebrate in such different ways, and quite amazing to think that so many Asian countries are in close proximity to each other yet celebrate in such diverse ways.
both the bride and groom we wearing traditional Thai wedding attire, which like western weddings attire is white but infused with intricate gold trimmings. all very grand!
the fresh flowers above (called malai) were worn around the neck of both the bride and groom.

after exchanging of the rings, the couple then lit candles at this special alter before moving to these two seats. here the grooms parents "connected" them by linking both their heads with a special white cord called sai mongkok.
with the couple now "linked" together the parents continued to place a white paste like substance made from candle wax, blessed water and a mixture of herbs onto the foreheads of the couple. this was not smeared across their forehead but gently placed so as to make three dots like a triangle.

now all the guests invited then went up one by one where we were given a small gold jug (i'm not sure jug is the correct word... but it looked like a small shell-shaped jug) filled with "holy water". we then had to slowly pour some of this water on the hands of both the bride and groom while congratulating and blessing them. this holy water trickled off their hands into the bouquet of flowers below. the jug was then given back to the assistant, re-filled, and given to the next person.

top left: lighting the candle
top right: being "linked"
bottom left: hands clasped is the "wai" position for the holy water

bottom right: traditional Thai wedding dress

the groom's family then presented the bride's family with the Thai dowry; or "Sin Sodt" as it's called in Thailand. this was (i think) in the form of money or gold to show that the groom's family will take care of the bride. here both the bride and groom bowed so low (almost lying on the floor) in thanks and the parents touch both of their heads. in Thai culture the head is the most sacred part of the body and one should never touch an others head, but here it must be an exception.
i didn't realise but when a coin is rolling along the floor, you should never use your foot to stop it (as most westerners would probably do) as this is considered an insult to the King as his head is on the coin.

speaking of the King and Queen, (i'm not going to go into detail on this but...) there are huge photos of them all over the city and they are highly respected by most (if not all) Thais. The King is one of the richest men in the world (personal wealth of $35 billion) and if insulted there are huge penalties. such as the Swiss man who was drunk and insulted the King by defacing his image = 10 years in prison.
people have even been fined for placing the King's photo on their website underneath someone else's (the King should always be on top)!! hence i'm not going to place his photo on here....scary business.

so yes, back to the wedding!

as the Thai ceremony was conducted in the morning, i had some free time before the evening ceremony so i went for my first ever facial. always a lot of hype over men's facials in men's magazines so was pleased to finally have one; and it was bliss. it was so relaxing that i even fell into a deep sleep while my mask was working on my aging skin!!
so after that revitalizing mangosteen facial (a fruit known for its high nutrient content and antioxidant qualities; photo below) and a change of clothes, i was off to the evening western-style ceremony with 500+ guests!!

beautiful setting with delicious nibbles and fine wine.
overall a great evening! congratulations Mrs S & Mr N!!


pascale said...

beautiful, just beautiful!
I bet the spa was heavenly- :)

world of sekimachihato said...

beautiful! exactly!! and it was.

yes, the spa was amazing too... i wish i could get a facial once a month now! not with HK prices i won't be :(

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