Village Wedding Thai Style


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My friend Pen lives in the village of Wiang Hong Long, about an hour south of Chiang Mai. She was invited to a wedding in the village of Hot, and asked me if I wanted to go with her. I did, and I’m glad I went.

It wasn’t a large wedding, but everyone was primed to have a good time, and that they did. It started with a procession up the hill to the bride’s house. Many firecrackers were thrown. The actual wedding ceremony took place is a small room, and only a fraction of the guests were interested in trying to cram themselves into it. Beer and whiskey flowed outside, and many people were content with that.

They observed what must be a tradition where the bride’s family stopped the procession at their gates, holding a symbolic chain across the road until the groom’s family had paid a dowry. Everyone was laughing on both sides of the chain. This happened again at the entrance to the wedding room, where I guess the ante was upped.

I don’t have to speak fluent Thai to know what was going on most of the time. The other guests were nice to me, and I realized almost without exception I was one of a handful of elderly there. A woman across from me spoke some English and told me I looked like a famous American actor. I asked “which one?” She had to think about it. After about ten minutes she said “Sylvester Stallone.”

The celebration ended with karaoke, as all Asian ceremonies seem to. Traditional Thai romance songs were greeted with applause. All of those sound the same to me, like what I have always thought of as Chinese music. Warbly runs up and down an oriental scale. Women singing too high and shrilly for my taste.

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