Getting married Phuket Baba style

Posted on May 22, 2014

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The Peranakan, or Straits Chinese people, are also known in Phuket as Baba. They are the descendants of Chinese immigrants who came to the island seeking a new and better life by working in tin mines back in the 19th century. The annual mass Phuket Baba wedding festival brings back memories of the tin mining industry.

Experience all the elaborate preparations and see how the well-to-do Chinese immigrants celebrate their wedding at some of Phuket’s most elegant Sino-Portuguese mansions located in the old town quarter. Colourful street celebrations along Thalang Road decorated with red lanterns include a lively parade, a lion dance and more. It’s a great photo opportunity!

On the big day itself, while the grooms are looking smart in their white suites, the brides turn up in their striking traditional Chinese costumes, with special hairdos, vintage jewelry and accessories. There are specific traditions surrounding this annual festival that make up the rich cultural Baba wedding event and all items chosen for this event whether it’s the food, or colour and size of objects have special symbolism; are considered to bring good luck, prosperity and fertility.

Great care is taken to ensure that all rituals are done properly and without any interruptions. Here are a few ceremonies not to be missed:

Paying homage to Heaven and Earth Ceremony: The custom of the worship of heaven and earth has been a part of Chinese culture since the ancient times. Before starting a life together, the couple will bow in front of theheaven and earth altar or in front of the groom’s family ancestors altar to first pay homage to heaven and earth and then to the family ancestors. Pay attention to the worship table/altar!

Wedding Tea Ceremony: Also at the groom’s house, the newlyweds will kneel in front of the groom’s parents while offering tea to them. Then they will offer it to other members of his family by order of age; meaning from the grandparents and uncles, aunties to his older sisters. In return they will receive small gift back (it can be anything from cash to gold and jewelry). In addition to appreciating this ceremony, it is also hoped that participation will learn to understand the idea of gratefulness and appreciation (of the children) toward parents and elders. It’s a concept that has been running strong in most Asian family for centuries.

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