Saturday, August 21, 2010

A Baba wedding weekend in Phuket

A ‘Baba’-style wedding is really something quite different from the norm and last weekend 18 couples decided to tie the knot in this fashion unique to Penang in Malaysia and Phuket – two destinations that share not a little when it comes to cultural similarities. Basically, a Baba wedding involves a local-born girl marrying a Chinese descended boy or any mélange of the above – but it is worthy of note if you’re interested in local Phuket culture. 

Traditionally, the marriage ceremony used to be a thinly-veiled statement of the wealth and social standing of the [mostly Chinese] parents but nowadays the tradition is simply carried on by people who wish to continue on in this vein to maintain cultural fluidity.

The Wedding that we went to witness was a typical ‘Phuket Baba’ affair.

The Wedding started early evening with a cocktail party on the lawns of Hongyok House in Phuket Town – there was a full orchestra and plenty of Thai people dressed up in their finery and of course a plethora of nibbles.

The next day started very early for the ladies (04:00) and the men had to be at the TAT offices by 07:00.  Here the men signed the necessary paperwork and were taken to their partners – a journey which involved small envelopes being passed from hand to hand and a replenished cup of Chinese Tea every few minutes.

Their partners then lit candles and burnt fake money at the Chinese Dragon shrine in Phuket Town. After this they were driven through Phuket Town to the Thaihua museum, where more photographs were taken.

After this they were driven to the Jui Tui Temple where they asked for blessings from the Chinese gods.

A fascinating weekend for us all, and good luck to the couples.


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