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You may hug the bride (but put that sword away first!)

Original post made by AnnaMirsky, another community, on Apr 28, 2011

Today I went to a Balinese wedding. The groom was from Bali and the bride from Japan. When my friend left a message for me at my hotel saying he would pick me up at 8:30 I was very surprised. Who gets married at 9 a.m.? But I guess it is an all day ceremony. The morning rituals concern themselves with cleansing the couple to get married, then there is a break for 1-2 hours. The actual joining of the couple takes place at approximately 1 or 2 p.m., depending on when the priest has time to come back! Then, in the evening there is a party.

This was my third ceremony and to be honest after a while it's all the same. I don't understand what is going on, which makes it less interesting to follow along. You come in and after a little while someone will bring you tea and a plastic clam shell of goodies (fruit sandwich, jelly type dessert, candied banana, shredded coconut, etc.) which is very nice! People just kind of sit around, move from place to place and visit with one another.

Not knowing anyone there, I felt a bit out of place. I also wasn't really in the mood which no doubt tainted my experience. My sarong (tied by the receptionist at my hotel) was starting to unravel and the language barrier made it hard to ask someone to help me. The setting was beautiful, inside a family temple compound, with stone carvings, flowers, incense and other offerings everywhere, and streamers made out of palm fronds hanging from the roof.

While people are milling about the priest performs rituals. At first he prays over some offerings and flowers, then he rings a bell and continues to pray. After a while, everyone goes outside and the couple comes out of the house. The priest blesses them and uses fire, holy water, rice and herbs. This goes on for a while then they move inside the temple compound and more of the same goes on.

Then the couple performs rituals together. Each is given coins to put between their fingers and toes. Then the coins get tossed behind them (a little like when the bide throws the bouquet). Then the woman sits as if she is at the market, a rope separates them, the man comes with a roll of coins and purchases some wares from the woman. Then the woman holds a palm mat while the man pierces it with the squiggly shaped metal sword he is wearing around his waist. This was very suggestive and I assume this is to show his masculinity and ability to produce children. The rope between them is burned with incense and they hug! This signals the end of the morning ceremony.

After the first part was over I left and with the help of my taxi driver friend found a cheaper guest house. It was fun to look while still dressed in the traditional Balinese outfit. I am now staying inside a family temple compound and paying much less then at the hotel. I am now a bit worn out and will go get a massage or take a nap ... maybe both! Goodbye until next time!

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