A Village Wedding




It was a warm and humid night in my wife's village. There was a special occasion: a village girl was getting married to a man from another village 4 hours drive away.

She was a beautiful Bidayuh girl and her man was a handsome Iban man. They might live many miles apart and from different ethnic backgrounds, but nothing could hinder them from loving one another. Love knew no boundaries when they first found one another.

It was an important occasion for my wife too, since she had known the bride and her family many years ago. They were her backdoor neighbors, and she had known her ever since she was a baby. I vaguely remembered the girl; I thought I had seen her before in my wife's house when she was still a young child during festivals and celebrations.

When there was a village wedding, the surrounding villagers would lend a happy hand. Since they were related to one another, it was easier and faster for them to work together. Some would be busy shopping for food items; some would get ready the community hall; some would take charge of the preparation of food for the invited guests; some would be busy with the bride's make up, not forgetting the bridesmaid and the mother of the bride; some would do the photo and video taking, etc. It was a special occasion, and everyone would play their role.

It was 5 in the evening when I reached the village. My wife and children had made their trip in the morning, since they had volunteered to help in the preparation of food.

The community hall was ready, so was the food preparation. The bride and her helpers and friends were doing the final touches with much fun and joy. Everyone was happily smiling.

The bridegroom's relatives and friends had arrived using large passenger vans. I remembered in the past people used to carter a bus when they had an important function in another village. But the trend had changed now; it seemed more convenient and easier to rent and travel in big passenger vans.

My wife brought me some food from the kitchen. The soup, veggies, and meats were really tasty. Hmmm... yummy! I ate all of them, with the fat home cat looking at me, patiently waiting for the bones.

The night had arrived. It was still very warm and humid outside. Everything was finally ready, so was everyone in the house. It was time to move slowly to the community hall.

The community hall was a short distance away. There were lots of people there already when we arrived . Many invited guests were seen lining up to shake the hand of the bridegroom, the bride, and their families. We also got ready with our gift.

The bride was sweating profusely, and my wife got ready with a clean handkerchief and helped her.

We exchanged greetings and some pleasant words and moved into the community hall. At one corner were the traditional gongs and drums. A old man in his mid 70s was playing them very skillfully. It must have taken him years of practices and hard work.

Then we got ready for the food session. It was buffet style with many different kinds of traditional dishes. People were lining up for the food too. It seemed that people here were well mannered and polite. There was no pushing or rushing, and there were ample places to move around and sit down.

Eating alone is never the same as eating together with family, relatives and friends. There were stories and folk tales to tell and laugh about, and some sweet memories of the past to recollect.

Time flied. All too soon the night was over. We had to return home to the town.

The night was still warm and humid. Many people were still celebrating. The singing and dancing session continued, and the drinking session too...

It might not be a grand wedding, but it was meaningful and memorable to the two families and friends, and to the villagers too, who never failed to lend a helping hand to any village wedding.

It was late at night. But it was still warm and humid...

There was still no sign of any rain...

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