Tibetan weddings rule!

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Asia » India » Himachal Pradesh » Mcleod Ganj
September 6th 2010
Published: September 10th 2010
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I’ve been to many English weddings and I thought they were fun, until I experienced a Tibetan one. Tibetan weddings and their traditions are fascinating. If you haven’t had the pleasure of going to one, make it your goal to be invited to one in the future.

The fun all started the night before with preparing the room for the celebration. I knew Tibetans had weird taste, with their love for 90s boy bands and strange posters of white babies and Chinese girls, but the decorations brought on a new element to my belief in their weird taste. We had around 10 fully grown Tibetan men all helping each other put up the Christmas decorations you and I used to have maybe 10 years ago. You know, the tacky colourful plastic streamer style Christmas decorations. They actually love them, that’s the amazing thing. I can’t get over how incredibly cute they are. That’s what I love about Tibetans, they’re not all about the new latest thing, all competing with who has the best phone, knows the latest music, etc, they take pleasure in the simplest things. I’d much rather have this life than the competitive life of the west.

Other than the Christmas decorations, we set up a beautiful shrine for the Dalai Lama’s photo, surrounded by khatta and other offerings, such as kaptse (the Tibetan cookie), sweets, troma desi (the Tibetan traditional party food), melted butter and an apple. Despite the fact that the Dalai Lama obviously won't be eating it, I think it's a beautiful sentiment. But I did notice the next day that our beautiful tower of kaptse had decreased in size… so even if the Dalai Lama couldn't eat it, it seems that the children thought they could!

In the morning Marieke and I arrived at L.I.T after doing some shopping for the party, to help the beautiful bride into her dress and get all made up. After battling it out with the Tibetans over what colour blouse and which apron she should wear, of course the Tibetans won, but Lauren still looked amazing in everyone’s eyes. As did Sangpo also, wearing his traditional chupa.

The best part of the outfits were definitely the hats. As if the outfits weren't bright and eyecatching enough, the hats really top it off. They're big and covered in fur from foxes from what I gathered. Sangpo had borrowed them from a friend, who had brought them from Tibet and they were very old, so were strictly prohibited from touching the fur on them, as he was petrified that we'd damage them.

So once the bride and groom were all dolled up and the guests had arrived, the ceremony began. They both sat in their chairs, covered in strange seat covers with pictures of cats on them... didn't I tell you about the Tibetans weird taste... and were presented with a cup of butter tea and a bowl of troma desi each. They had to throw a sprinkling of the rice onto the floor, then the guests started queuing up, ready to drown them in khatta (quite literally). We gave one to the Dalai lama and one each to the bride and groom. In the end, as I said, they were literally swamped in a sea of white khatta. Lauren clearly found it very comical as you can see by the photos!

After the ceremony had finished the real fun began... the food, and of course, the alcohol. We feasted on food that had some real sweat and blood put into it, then the party began. Bottles of whisky were being dished out along with countless bottles of beer. I'd never seen these guys so drunk! The first load of dancing began once everyone had at least one or two drinks in them and this was the traditional Tibetan group dance. The singing along with it was beautiful. It was yet again, another moment that showed the community and solidarity they have here, if nothing else. It was moving and beautiful to see.

Then the real dancing began. The western dancing. Even the macarena, with Lauren, Marieke and I teaching all the Tibetans the moves to the dance. One of the funniest moments of my life; all these disorientated Tibetans trying to follow my every move. Many sweated it out (quite literally with the amount of dancing they did) until way past their bedtimes, then we all stumbled home. All in all, it was a brilliant night!

Additional photos below
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10th September 2010

Awesome Jess! Looks like a blast! You are becoming quite the writer and photographer....
23rd February 2011

just thought i should let you know not all tibetan weddings are like the kind you experienced!not that there's anything wrong with the kind of wedding you experienced. weddings differ from family to family... it depends on the family and how wealthy they are. Some rich families put up really impressive weddings with ridiculous decoration and menu lists.

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