Today was the big day for Praneeth and Nirasha, a young couple in the village outside of Weligama where we have spent a lot of time in the past couple of weeks. Honestly, we don’t really know them…
Praneeth had invited us to come, and every time we’ve walked by the house they’ve been working hard on to finish before the wedding, he’s asked us to promise to come and his friends and family members have told us they’d be honored if we come. So we’ve asked around, with various luck due to language difficulties, about what to wear, what to bring, how to act and what a Sri Lankan wedding usually is like.
Anders decided to wear his new, Sri Lankan sarong and a shirt and that was “approved” by the members of “our” local family. I asked the mother of the family if she had a saree I could borrow from her, and when coming there today she had bought a new saree for me to wear… There are many things that happen here without us understanding even half of it. So I just said thank you and decided to pay her back in some way further on. (they usually refuse to take money from us, even if we want to pay for something).
It took seven women to get me dressed and ready with make up, hair, ear rings, shoes and jewelry.
The younger girls ran to other houses to borrow make up, bracelets and safety pins.
Someone almost pinned my underwear to the dress, a make up pen broke before both eyes were done, and I broke some bracelet because my hands are bigger than the girl’s that had lended it to me.
Anyways, everyone was happy and these people were so proud of us wanting to wear the traditional clothing to the wedding.
When arriving at the wedding, the groom, his friends and family were so happy to see us, they held our hands and made sure to let us know how honored they felt.
For us, the wedding party ment a lot of sitting inside the new house and in the neighbor’s garden (where the men gathered for strong drinks and snacks), listening to very loud live music, eating good food, smiling and accepting not understanding what went on, trying to figure out when and where to give our present, taking pictures of kids that one of the women wants us to send copies of, and telling everyone how much we love Sri Lanka.
And then there was dancing. Only men dancing, making spectacular moves to the extremely loud music, and I couldn’t help but get up there… As the only woman dancing, people came outside or stopped on the street to see the Swedish lady dancing in her Sri Lankan dress with the men at this local wedding.
We didn’t know if this was very inappropriate or not, but apparently it was some kind of success.
After some hours of sweating, smiling, talking, eating, sitting, smiling, dancing and talking some more, we left and walked back home.
Probably we made some “mistakes”, but we tried our best to show respect and give the newly wedded couple our warmest wishes. We enjoyed being part of something this big in these people’s lives, and smiled at the excitement our presence and dressing caused. We had a really good time and were totally exhaused afterwards.
Oh, the present we bought was a clay pot for the couple to use in their new kitchen – from today they live together in the new house and will start their life together as husband and wife.
Anders and Wivan