Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Biggest Wedding on the Island

On Saturday the 28th of July I went to one of the biggest weddings on the south side of Savaii. The bride is the eldest daughter of the pastor of the village next to us and she went to our school as do all of her younger siblings. The groom is the son of the man who used to be the pastor of my village for 20 years. He was also the president of the PTA, and he is currently on the Methodist Board of Education. It was huge. He also used to teach at the Piula Theological College (for Methodists). I would say about 80% of all Methodists were there.

The actually ceremony was very similar to the states. The vows were the same, just in Samoan. The pastor gave a short sermon, and there was a long prayer of kneeling down, but for the actual ceremony, it was the same.

The Bride's gown. It must have been fairly heavy.

The bride and groom, Selese and Uesele. After the wedding ceremony before the reception, the entire wedding party goes in a train of rented similar cars somewhere for a picnic while everyone eats and chats. When they get back the speeches are made (only on the grooms side) and the cake is cut.

The bride's cake. There are 19 cakes, one for every year old she is.

A close up shot of the bride's cake... real frosting!

The groom's cake. There are 16 cakes. No special number. Each cake is on display during the wedding. The bride and groom cut a piece out of each cake and share it. Then someone calls out who of the guests get which cake. All of the cakes but 2 were passed out to important guests. The remaining 2 were cut up into little pieces and shared with all of the guests. It was a fruit cake with real frosting. Real frosting! Yeah. :)

One of the flower girls. There were 14 people in the wedding party.

After the reception part including the wedding party dancing to a song or two (but not the rest of the guests), the real Samoan part of the wedding starts. It's where all of the stuff is passed from guests to the families getting married. Not the presents, that is put on a table like in the states, but the fine mats, cans of meat, blocks of fabric, food, money, cows... It's done at every Samoan event - weddings, funerals, church openings... usually it lasts half hour, hour at the most. This one was so big, that part lasted 3 hours! 3 hours of someone yelling out who the stuff goes to and passing everything on and receiving everything. I got a huge plate of food out of the deal and a few cans of sardines and canned mackerel.

A massive fine mat. One of at least 30 fine mats passed around that day. I think this is one of the largest. Fine mats are worth upward of thousands of tala and are passed around like cash.

Another fine mat.

A few boxes of eleni (canned mackerel). Every event has tons of cases of eleni and canned corned beef and sardines pass back and forth.

A leg of a cow... now you see how huge these events are. This leg of a cow went to the Methodist Theological College.


At 1:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those pictures are amazing. Quite the cake display and the fine mats are enormous. You got to experience something very special in the Samoan culture.

At 3:45 AM, Anonymous Katie said...

how old is that man? If she's 19, he must be what? In his late 20s at the earliest...


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