So this past weekend I went back to my host village to witness my first Fijian wedding of a member of my host family.Before I get into the weekend's details I do want to say that there are things that I see and hear that I will not feel comfortable sharing since it may make the person who did it feel uncomfortable. However, I really want to share these particular experiences with my close family and friends and trust they do not make the information public.So if you want to know please email me and ask me about the undisclosed happenings of my weekend.Moving on.
I had the extreme pleasure of being driven by my host brother and his family all the way back to the village.He saved me from a painful day's trip via public transport.Thank you Trevor!!! We arrived at about 7:30pm and got a king's welcome, lovely seeing my host family and other villagers after a month away.Everyone was working hard getting things ready for the wedding, three sheds were built in front and back of the house for the festivities. The one in the back was where all the cooking was going on.They were cooking a whole cow which had been slaughtered earlier that day and had a few dozen chickens being cooked.There were these massive metal pots being used to cook all the food.Also of course there were two lovos (earth ovens) being prepared also.Inside the house the main room had been cleared of all furniture and decorated with colourful fabric.The floor was also covered in ibes(mats made of plaited dried palm leaves.) Also, people were drinking grog, chatting and enjoying the night air.The two shed at the front of the house were being decorated too with palm leaves,cloth and ibes.At about 10pm that night we were greeted with a powercut that lasted about half an hour.You cannot imagine how dark it got!But I had my handy dandy flashlight so it was okay.After much laughter and food preparation I went to bed at about midnight leaving everyone else up and what seemed wide awake to work through the night.I was given my old room back where I got to sleep on a bed.When I walked out into the main room though I got a pleasant shock to see that the main room was filled with people sleeping, probably about 10/12.I don't know how they sleep on the hard foor. Even women in their 70's and 80's slept on the floor.
I woke up bright and early to the sound of the loli(large hollowed out tree used as a drum) being beaten at 6 in the morning.I was a call to the village o notify them that church was starting.That day I helped to get the final touches together for the wedding. At about 11 am The wedding party processed to the church from their home and the wedding ceremony began.The service was about one hour, short and sweet. The bride and groom exchanged rings and vows, the pastor did a sermon and a representative from either side of the family talked abit.After the service the couple processed out and changed for the reception.Guests went to sit under the sheds and most of the men sat in the house's main room drinking grog of course and laying on their guitars.
A new ceremony I learned about also was a tevutevu. This is where each side of the family offers gifts to the couple to start them on their new life together. It was mostly pillows(about 30 of them), a mosquito net, mounds of food, tanoa(whale's tooth) and grog.What is even more interesting is that if the family cannot give a tevutevu at that time they can do it whenever during the couple's marriage whether it be a month,year or decade later the family can still do one.
Of course before leaving I had to see the rest of the people I had become close to during training.I thought that I would have seen them all at the wedding but apparently this was a real busy day since there was also a 21st birthday, house opening, baby's birth and fun day at the nearby school.It was nice taking a stroll down the pah and visiting different families and their kids.