M double U

2018 Bali

Wedding Daniel & Ade

The 27th of August was going to be a very special day. Many moons ago I held Daniel in my arm when he still was a baby and this day I had the privilege to attend his wedding with Ade

There was excitement in the air when I woke up. I enjoyed my breakfast and greeted Ulli, Nyoman and Daniel who all had big smiles on their faces. Then the first guest started to arrive, all friends of Daniel. The vibe was great and everybody was looking forward to a great day. Wayan, one of Daniel’s friends helped my with my traditional outfit so I did not make a fool of myself. Not much later Nyoman’s family from Denpasar arrived and we were good to go.

Several festive decorated cars had been arranged for family and friends and I was in a car together with Ulli and Nyoman. When everybody was seated we left as a group towards Ade’s parents house, a journey that did not take us longer than 30 minutes.

On arrival there were already many guests present, all dressed up in traditional Balinese outfits. We were given seats at the front row and like everybody else were now waiting for the events to unroll. During our wait all guests were given a snack box with something to eat and drink, a nice gesture to make our wait comfortable. The place was full with offerings, not only the courtyard where we sat but also the area that housed the family temple. It was stunning but also overwhelming.

By now the courtyard was full, I guess that about 300 people must have been present. Family, friends, and what must have been the complete neighborhood as well. It was a very relaxed atmosphere and everybody looked very festive. And then, without any announcement or ceremonials Ade and Daniel arrived. They were led in front of 3 men and the ceremony started so quietly it was hardly noticeable.

There was a lot of talking going on, apparently with a lot of humor as well, as I could make up from the plenty of laughing. The whole ceremony was in Balinese so I could not understand a word. After quite some time the rings and the presents from Daniel to Ade were blessed and finally the big moment of exchanging the rings had arrived. Then the official papers had to be signed by Ade, Daniel, Ade’s mother and Nyoman. One would normally have thought that this would end the ceremony but not in Bali…
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I noticed that all the guests present were very relaxed and enjoying themselves. Witnessing the ceremony apparently wasn’t the most important, but being present was the main thing. The more the merry, and Ulli had already told me that for Balinese standards this was a very small wedding. For me though the whole sequence of ceremonies was very special and I did not want to miss a single thing of it..

There was a short moment for the official photographer to make some pictures of the newly wed and their parents after which another ceremony started. This time it was lead by Ade’s mother and two other ladies. They had a tray with colored threads, coins and flower leaves. Ade and Daniel stood in front of them with their hands stretched out after which the individual items were put between and around their fingers and toes. A priest was present to bless the items and did a short prayer after the ritual.

With this ceremony finished we were not yet done for the day. I had already noticed that in front of the house temple another priest was performing some rituals and now Ade and Daniel went over there. In front of the house  temple a table was placed which was covered with offerings, one of them a suckling pig. The bride and groom now took place in a small pagoda and their parents took place at the side of it. Then the priest started another ceremony of prayers and blessings. Ade and Daniel, as well as their parents, joined in the prayers.

Although I did not really understand what was going on the way the blessings and rituals were performed were so unmistakable and unique Balinese. I was completely intrigued and immersed myself in what was happening around me. Over the years I had witnessed plenty of ceremonies in Bali but this was the first wedding I attended. The fact that it was Daniel’s wedding made it even more special.

Once the prayers were completed the group continued to another temple, in front of my seat, where even more prayers were conducted. At the end of that Ade and Daniel were given a plate of food and they had to feed each other. That completed the morning ceremonies.

In the mean time a wonderful buffet with Chinese food had been prepared and we joined the queue for our turn to make our choice. Ulli, Nyoman and myself found a free table upstairs and reflected on the morning whilst enjoying our lunch. I was sharing the table with two extremely happy and proud parents, a wonderful thing to see.

Lunch completed the events at Ade’s parental home, now it was time to continue to the second venue of the day. All rituals and ceremonies to commemorate that Ade was now leaving her parental home were completed but according to Balinese tradition more ceremonies were to be conducted.

The second ceremony took place in the festively decorated garden of the Griya in Gianyar. We were there early so we had to wait till Ade and Daniel arrived and the festivities could continue. Time flew by quickly though as I was talking to Daniel’s, as well as Ulli and Nyoman’s friends. It was great to finally meet them and I felt warmly welcome, in spite of the fact that we met for the very first time.

Shortly before 3pm Ade and Daniel arrived and a priest was already waiting for them to start the first series of rituals and ceremonies that took place in front of a table that was filled with offerings.

Once the priest was finished a new ceremony started that was led by Ade’s mother and two other women. Ade and Daniel were given different things from daily life and it seemed like they were explained about their uses. To me it appeared to be an explanation of how to run a household but then, not understanding a word of what was said, i could be completely wrong. Also over here the atmosphere was very light with a lot of laughter. I was enjoying it tremendously and as I could see all involved were having a great time as well.

There was a short break after this but I had already spotted yet another priest who had started preparations for the next ceremony, which of course, contained more of blessings of the young couple.

Once this ceremony was completed Ade and Daniel went together to the house temple for another series of prayers which was done in font of some beautiful offerings. Every time I see a ceremony on Bali I am deeply impressed by the sheer beauty of the offerings that have been created to please the Gods. This time was no exception.

A little bit later Ade and Daniel joined by their parents who were already waiting for a final prayer that concluded the official part of the day. All Ceremonies, rituals and prayers which are an important part of Balinese life had now been conducted and Daniel and Ade were now official husband and wife.

Once again there was some time for some official photograph’s after which everybody returned to their seats. The party was officially to begin.

I returned to my table and mingled with the other guests. What an impressive day it had been, a day that I thoroughly and without doubt was the highlight of my trip. What a coincidence that my third attempt to visit Bali ended up with the wedding of Ade and Daniel. It was third time lucky indeed.

A wonderful buffet of Indonesian style food was opened and it appeared there was way to much for the 250 people present. I absolutely loved it but had eaten so much of the main course I could not make it to the dessert buffet.

Time was flying by quickly and Nyoman noticed I was getting tired. As the party would not be going on for much longer he proposed to return to Guci Guesthouses where we changed into less formal clothing. Back to shorts and T-shirt…

About two hours later Ade and Daniel arrived. We opened a bottle of Balinese champagne that I had bought earlier for this event and reflected on a most memorable day. But all of us were tired so we did not stay up too long.

The next morning I started packed my luggage and relaxed a bit at my veranda. Then Nyoman came to see me, he wanted to show me something he had been working on…

In the garden he had placed 8 paintings he had been working on the last couple of months. Nobody had seen hem so far, it was my honor to be the first one… And I was blown away by the sheer beauty of Nyoman’s latest work. 8 Very abstract paintings, one even more beautiful than the other. I really liked what I saw and fell in love with the new work. And so did Ulli, Daniel and Ade, as neither of them had seen the new work so far. It was a big surprise to all of us. Although this was not the intention I decided on the spot to buy one painting that I really liked. It did not take long for a second painting to be sold to another guest who was also blown away by the new work and I was told later a third painting had been sold within a week.

We chatted the rest of the day but then my taxi driver arrived and it was time for me to say goodbye. Ulli, Nyoman, Daniel and Ade came along to wave me out and I still saw their waving hands when my taxi disappeared in the distance. About an hour later I arrived at the airport, checked in for my two flights and was ready for the long journey home.

As you already might have noticed this trip has not been as adventurous as my previous journeys, actually it was my first holiday “holiday” since years. Shattering the ashes of my father in Malang was a beautiful thing to do. It was followed by an extremely relaxing experience, a true holiday for the soul. Not having visited Bali for 5 years I really rediscovered it’s charm (and it’s food) and I can only say I truly loved it. How wonderful was it to meet my friends again and continue there where we stopped 5 years ago…

It has been a fantastic trip and somehow I have the feeling it will not take another 5 years till my next trip.

Bali, until we meet again…..

Yus, Ayu, Ulli, Nyoman, Daniel, Ade,

Terimah Kasih