As we continue to explore more of the culture of Laos, we stubble across a one-in-a-lifetime experience. Micky, a happy and cheerful local and director of the organization got invited to a wedding but, unable to attend he gladly gave us the invitation and told us to go. Without thinking it twice, we got dressed fitting the expectations of a western wedding since we didn’t know what to wear and it seemed better to be overdressed than underdressed.
After for about thirty minutes of bike riding through the small town turning heads of the locals for these two falangs (the word used to described foreigners in Lao) were riding bicycles all dressed up! We finally reached what could be described in simple words as a “pre-wedding ceremony”. It turns out Lao people have a pre-wedding celebration, the wedding and the reception after. How cool is that?? Getting married in Southeast Asian countries is a big thing, just like in most cultures I suppose.
In Laos, a wedding means eating, drinking, dancing and, for that moment, leaving behind the cultural norms set by their religions and customs. With this said, at the gathering we encountered several behaviors that we, as foreigners had been so careful not to display, such as hugging, dancing next to each other and kissing strangers on the cheeks.
The fact that we were the only foreigners and, it’s not like they were expecting us, made the involvement even more exceptional. There was no falang music, no falang food, or English for that matter! It was the purest way you could get to Lao culture. Good thing we knew how to say “cheers!” in Lao!
A wedding was a great way to discover that Lao people are joyful and love to celebrate life despite the fact of the hard past that this small country had to face during the war and still facing with the slow development of its society. Women still wear the traditional Lao skirt with the colors and patterns that have been part of the history of Laos probably even before any Western set foot on their land.
The day was a success although we were not able to go to the actual wedding itself, since you probably have to be a family member or friend to attend. We drank, danced, ate, laughed, talk (with sign language) and enjoyed every second of it. We were thankful of the hospitality that this people, even though they had no idea who we were provided us a little taste of their lives.
Coming back, a little tipsy and with stomachs about to burst, while we rode the bicycles we analyzed the experience and came to the conclusion that Laos is one of the coolest countries we have visited, not only for the amazing scenery and food but mainly for its people.
To see our adventures around Southeast Asia, head over to our Youtube channel!