A Wedding

Most people started rolling in on Tuesday; aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, parents, grandparents, and group after group of energetic children roamed about, continuing the preparations for the wedding to take place Friday. Furniture was removed and stored in a neighbor’s crop-house down the street as every square inch here was converted into a kitchen – clusters of ibus filling any empty space with pots, pans, fire, and pound after pound of kue (cake). Meanwhile, any bapak, mas, or and oms in other words, the dudes could be found constructing stages, platforms, and tents to house and hold the many guests to come. Day after day, we piled into pickup trucks to transport what seemed like a never ending supply of food and material to support the ceremony soon to take place.

Building up the wedding tent

I woke up to the sound of dangdut bass throbbing in my ears early Thursday morning and a knock on my door instructing me to “Makan” (eat). Being told the wedding ceremony would be held Friday, I had supposed I would be able to sleep in a bit (meaning past 7am), but when I walked upstairs, it seemed as though the wedding had already started…and that I was last to arrive. “Mereka menekah besok, ya? Tidak hari ini?” (“They marry tomorrow, not today right?”) I asked Budi, Lilik’s brother visiting from University. He reassured me that the ceremony was in fact still the next day; however, today was the opening – in reality, the wedding would last 3 days in all. After breakfast, one of Lilik’s more comedic relatives grabbed me by the shoulder, motioning for me with his hands to grab my camera. With a smile on his face he directed my attention down the street, pointing with one index finger and bringing the other across his neck. A crowd gathered a few houses down, surrounding a large cow…or at least what used to be a large cow – by the time I made my way through it had been skinned and drained of blood, a pale gleaming mound of intestines and steamy death making me glad I was vegetarian.

Here’s Before, I’ll spare you the After

It’s hard to describe all of the ceremonies and rituals that took place, myself only being an observer constantly guessing at what was going on, what was next, and what just happened; so the past 72 hours of offerings, incents, burning flowers and flying ducks, parades, permissions, crowns, swords and the usual abundance of rice has left me with loss of words…and I was going to bed early. Visually, on the other hand, I was able to capture the majority of the days that passed, always being urged to the front of the action by the family and guests who saw the camera around dangling at my side. So instead of boring you with my presumptions, I’ll just leave you with some photos and clips of the event itself, making your guess as good as mine…

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