Gede, who’s been working for me for over 2 years, got married to Ari on 29 Oct 2014.
The double ceremony, with Gede’s cousin Wayan and Sugiani, started early in the morning next to Gede’s family home up in the cooler mountains of Kintamani.
Below the couple are balancing offerings… Gede on the back of his hands, Ari in the palms of her hands. Seconds later they tossed them over their heads – with the help of guiding fingers that you can just see holding Gede’s arms.
In fact all through this ceremony, called Mekalakalan, the bride and groom have people standing right close up behind them, doubtless to keep them safe. However these guardians at their backs must be younger than the bride and groom.
The next thing to be tossed over their heads was a small chicken which was caught by a lucky guest (in England the bride throws a bouquet of flowers and whoever catches it is supposed to get married next – makes me wonder how many countries have similar customs?).
Soon it was time for purification which involved taking some clothes off, Gede had his back washed while he washed Ari’s back. I asked Gede if he was okay about me using this photo… he was pleased as it shows his local traditions (which are different from other Balinese weddings I’ve been to).
Purified, they put on fresh clothes – right there at the side of the street.
This Mekalakalan ceremony, took place in Abang village – literally on the street running alongside lake Batur, inside the volcanic caldera.
Now they are about to kick the past away… the offerings are taken away from the makeshift table, that’s been held up by family members throughout the ceremony and together, as one, the couple kick backwards at the legs of the table, which topples over.
They walk away from it and don’t look back.
We all head back to the house, but before the couple can enter a ceremony has to be performed by the Mangku (Priest)
At the entrance (photo above) you can just see the Balinese greeting ‘Om Swastyastu’ written in letters of the alphabet. Below, you can see it again written in Balinese Aksara.
Look closely and you can also see the swastika… used for literally thousands of years as a positive symbol of good luck, strength etc. (a perfect testament on how things that can be good one day can be perceived differently, by different peoples, the next day – maybe in a similar way that the ‘lower gods’ of today could become the ‘higher gods’ of tomorrow, which is why offerings are given to both, i.e. offerings are placed on the ground and up high too – maybe you might have to be here in Bali to ‘get’ that? Anyway, Gede was visibly shocked when I explained that many people, in the west, associate the swastika with such opposite emotions as it is perceived here).
Inside there’s a feast ready to feed an army (they’d printed 300 wedding invitations but it was not enough – that’s a lot of mouths to feed).
And of course there was a huge number of offerings for both couples, who had to spend the first night, right here, in front of the offerings – to connect with God as much as with each other:
And now another change of clothes including earrings and make-up for the couple
Don’t they look stunning:
We all get in cars, or in the back of open pick-up trucks, and head up to the temple at Abang Songan. The ice cream seller does a brisk trade outside the temple gates – I choose a wafer cone, but the most popular choice is to have ice cream in a bread roll.
A number of Mangkus arrive and one of them is Pasek’s uncle who I’ve met many times (Pasek built my house):
Here the two couples are sitting down inside the temple just before this part of the ceremony is about to start. The guests and the Priests sit on the floor too – we’re all barefoot.
The happy couple posing in front of a family temple at a Mangku’s house in the village
And below are an assortment of other pictures from the 2 days that I was there (the first day for the ceremony and the 2nd day for the reception)
Nyoman, Gede’s father, takes center stage in this picture and Teddy, who used to work at Rumah Jepun too, is right next to him and on the far left is Wayan, the other groom:
Me with the happy couple:
Just about to pray:This is my favourite picture of Gede and Ari:
And one showing them feeding each other (I love this part of the ceremony… feeding each other from the basket of love):
Let’s finish with this fabulous professional picture which was used for the wedding invitations:Congratulations and I wish both couples every happiness – or, as Yaniq would put it, ‘Happy in Happiness’!
Oh, and if you want to see more about this area of Kintamani click here: lakeside tranquility overlooking a volcano