Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Long Drum Procession

We like to add a touch of Thai tradition to our weddings so we begin each Big Day with a “Long Drum Procession”.  This is our abridged version of genuine ceremonial practices that begin a Thai wedding by announcing the arrival of the Groom at the Bride’s address.   

Traditionally, in the “Khan Maak” parade, musicians will join the Groom’s family and friends at his house and they will form a procession in which they deliver gifts and a dowry to the Bride’s residence to begin the engagement ceremony.  Nowadays, the procession will be performed close to where the engagement ceremony takes place, on the morning of the wedding.  It is a very uplifting and joyful event with lots of dancing and singing. 

Next comes the “Gate-” or “Door-Passing ceremony, where the Groom must pass through symbolic barriers between himself and the Bride’s parents.  These are represented by gold or silver chains held by female friends or sisters of the Bride, and they demand money to allow the Groom to pass.  They can even decide to ask for more money if they do not think the amount offered is sufficient! This is a light-hearted game that comes from proving that the Groom is financially stable enough to support the Bride and her family.  Once all the gates are open, the Groom and his procession can pass through and he and his family give a dowry and gifts to the Bride’s parents.  The dowry is then inspected by the Bride’s mother before the wedding ceremony begins.  These days, the dowry is usually returned to the couple as a wedding gift.   

    A Thai Groom passes a dowry to his Bride’s parents

At a Faraway wedding, once the Bride is fully preened, the guests are gathered on the terrace and the Groom is all set; we are ready to begin.  The Groom and his Groomsmen are guided to the entrance of the garden, where they join 4 Thai dancers and 6 musicians.  The procession winds through the garden and onto the terrace.  The drums are beating, the musicians are chanting a happy tune and it is the duty of the Groomsmen to dance along and look silly while the Groom retains his decorum!  Once the procession reaches the terrace, The Groom and his Best Man are seated under a gazebo and the mothers of the Bride and Groom are invited to sit behind them.  All the guests gather around and a welcome dance is performed.  You may be pleased to hear that no dowry is required – just smiles and laughter.  

 Skipping Groom – a fun entrance for a relaxed beach wedding

       This best man is taking his role as lead dancer seriously

    The Groom enjoys the welcome dance at Faraway Villa

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