“Same same, but different.” This is a common Tibetan saying directly translated into English. This morning I went to my first Tibetan wedding, and while there are many differences from the weddings I have attended, the feelings and thoughts I think when attending a wedding were the same. A great “consume” activity if we are talking about being a student of Tibetan culture.
We were invited to this wedding by Elizabeth because it was a member of the host family she is staying with. The extended family came over to discuss if this girl would be allowed to marry the boy (being a love marriage vs. arranged), and once they agreed it was okay they threw the whole thing together in two days! Compare that to the countless hour and stress that goes into planning out a wedding in the States.
In India Tibetan weddings are much different. My host sister told me that in Tibet they last fifteen days. This one just lasted all day.
The program said that it started at 9, but that was far from the truth. Polychronic time and whatnot. We were going with the family and did not arrive at the reception hall until 10. We sat around and ate snacks (Tibetan cookies, rice, and some derivative of trail mix) until it was time for the scarf ceremony. There was nothing too fancy or formal about this. The couple sat near the alter of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and people would form a line and drape white scarves over the couple and the members of the family. There were no vows exchanged, no grand gestures for complex formalities, but you could tell it was still very important. The bride wore a silk red chupa (a traditional dress), and both her and the groom wore some special Tibetan hats made of fur. People showed up in jeans and t-shirts of chupas. It was so much more relaxed in general than the weddings I am used to—the one I have dreaded planning for myself most of my life.
Oh love… I’m quite sappy today.
Adela and Myra