Thursday, February 2, 2012

Four's Wedding

Those past GVI volunteers who have lived at the chief’s house will be happy to hear that his daughter, Four, has got married. It was a two day affair, full of eating, drinking rice whiskey, and practicing hanging out with villagers. The festivities began Friday afternoon when four pigs were sacrificed for the occasion; the villagers spiritual beliefs revolve around spirits and pigs (and pig spirits) are often sacrificed for ceremonies and big occasions to please the ancestral spirits. At least half the village showed up to help cook the pigs and prepare for the wedding.
The actual ceremony took place Saturday afternoon. Four and her husband (a strapping young man from the neighbouring village of Mae Na Chorn) sat in their living room on cushions with flowers beside them and plates of food while all the village elders took turns tying string on their wrists to bind in the good spirits and wish them a long and happy life. The chief even asked a few GVI folks to tie string around their wrists! After all the elders were done there was a brief prayer and meeting and the ceremony was over. Immediately afterwards the groom’s family was seen off with shots of whiskey and by having water tossed on them.

Throughout the ceremony, Four was wearing a traditional white dress, which is what unmarried Karen women wear. Her husband was wearing all white with a bright pink scarf tied around his head. Later that day, around 9pm, the groom returned to the chief’s house and is officially welcomed there (traditionally the men move in with their wives families). Four had changed into the traditional married woman’s clothing of a hand-woven stripped skirt and intricately designed top. More whiskey was drank into the late hours and the wedding ceremony was over. Congratulations Four!