The Wedding Ceremony: Mazel Tov Noah and Sumalai

Trip Start Oct 15, 2009
Trip End Dec 15, 2013

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Flag of Thailand  , Rayong,
Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Wedding Day and Ceremony at Le Virmarn!
Early in the morning, Noah's family and all wedding guests gathered in a different place from Sumalai and her family. Like the wedding in the Baan Dorn Kaem, the ceremony began with a formal procession to escort the groom to the bride's family for permission to "get engaged." The parade crossed the resort, along the sea. Oh what a beautiful setting. There were drums and Thai dancers and banana and sugar cane stalks, along with the ceremonial platters of Thai desserts, all which carry significance to insure a successful and sweet marriage. And of course, once again, Mark and I, Aaron and David, all carried the beautiful Thai "Pahn" or "platters" with the gold and money that is the "sin sort" or "dowry."

Sumalai was the most elegant, exquisite, and beautful bride I have ever seen. Noah was a handsome and happy groom. Does he know how lucky he is?

We had a beautiful day, and an unusual blend of a traditional Thai and Jewish wedding. After the Thai Procession, Engagement and Water Ceremonies, everyone moved to the Le Virmarn Garden with the beautiful Chuppah for the Ring Ceremony. Huge thanks go to Aunt Lynn for helping them with this, and for her impromptu organization of the western/Jewish features of the Chuppah Ceremony!

The ring ceremony is similar in both traditions. Noah and Sumalai wrote their vows. Noah recited his vow in Thai, and Sumalai said hers in English. The couple sipped their wine, Aunt Lynn recited the traditional blessings and Noah shattered the wine glass with a bang! The happy couple kissed! Congratulations, Mazel Tov!

The Wedding Program I prepared in Thai and English explains our blended Thai Jewish wedding.
Khan Mak -Procession Ceremony

The wedding day merrily starts with the procession of Khan Mak. Noah's family and the wedding guests begin the procession to see the bride at an auspicious time. Noah will lead the colorful procession.  Everyone dances their way to see the bride and her family.

Noah will face guards (normally the bride's relatives) at the doors that lead to where Sumalai waits. He must present envelopes filled with money as the keys to the bride's door. Teasingly and jokingly negotiating, the bride's relatives give the groom a hard time. The delightful atmosphere filled with laughter brings the two families closer together.

Engagement Ceremony

After Noah has passed the brides relatives who have all welcomed him into their family, he must seek the approval of the bride's parents. This is done through an offering to Sumalai's parents,known as sin sot or the dowry.  In modern times this offering is usually purely for show and is returned to the couple after the wedding to help start off their new lives together.

Water and Wedding Ceremony

In the traditional Rod Nahm Sang or Thai Water Ceremony, the engaged couple sit together and kneel over a bench and cup their hands over an ornate silver bowl filled with flowers. The lotus  flower used symbolizes fertility.  A string will be draped from the bride to the groom's head, symbolizing their union.

Wedding guests, led by the most respected elders in attendance, will take turns approaching the couple and offering their blessings. When it is a guest's turn to bless the couple, they pour water from a conch shell over the Noah and Sumalai's hands, and offer words of good luck. The water is collected in the silver bowl below the couple's hands. The Water Ceremony is typically performed by all guests older than the couple, beginning with the eldest and ending with those closest in age to the couple.

The Chuppah -The Wedding Canopy

After the water ceremony we will move to the Le Virmarn garden. Noah and Sumalai will stand beneath the chuppah. The chuppah is an ancient Jewish wedding tradition that symbolizes many things: it is shelter, it is bed covering, it is the couple's first home. It's sides are open representing the hospitality we share with our family and friends.

The Ring Ceremony

In the Jewish tradition, a verbal declaration of marriage is not legally binding. Noah and Sumalai will exchange rings as tangible symbols of their mutual desire to be together.

The Breaking of the Glass

To conclude the ceremony, Noah will step on a wine glass. This Jewish tradition is centuries old. There are many interpretations of this custom. It is said to symbolize that a broken class cannot be mended, and marriage is a similarly transforming experience. It is a reminder that there will be times of sorrow as well as of joy. And the noise of breaking the glass and the sharp shards are said to scare away evil spirits to protect the new union!

Congratulations Noah and Sumalai!

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