Sunday, June 11, 2006

Buddha Bless You.

My nanay and tatay got married on June 10, a day after my father's birthday, in 1973. In 1998, on their 25th wedding anniversary, they got married again (renewal of vows) in the same church, in a ceremony replete with Filipiniana in the heart of Intramuros. Yesterday, 33 years since the first time they said their 'I do's', they got married again. It was different this time, though. It was held at a buddhist temple along N.Domingo St. in San Juan. The whole thing started from my dad's promise to my mom that they would renew their vows at different churches (of different religions!) every year during their anniversary, beginning with this one.

We all drove down from Tagaytay at 6am and, after a breakfast stopover, got to the temple at around 7:30am. We were welcomed by a tall, gentle man (not to be confused with gentleman, although he was one) named Anthony who taught us how to perform the simple ceremony. We had to walk in pairs carrying, in this order, our parents' wedding rings placed in tiny Chinese wedding baskets weaved from rattan and painted black, red, and gold; two fruits, a pear and an apple which, for the Chinese, represent a woman's fertility and a man's support for the family respectively; flowers whose meaning I forgot; and lamps to, I'm vaguely recalling, illuminate one's path in life. There were monks clad in brown robes and beads, their heads shaved, milling about with smiles and demeanor that was infectiously serene.

The wedding ceremony itself was short, lasting about fifteen minutes. It was just part of a bigger ceremony, though, and was followed by an hour-long sutra accompanied by the rhythmic pounding of gongs and bells. I struggled to stay up throughout the arcane chanting, even though Anthony told us that should we be unable to stay with the sutra, we could bow deeply three times and excuse ourselves to sit down. It got better near the end when the head monk led the congregation through what seemed like a human version of snake around the temple. Afterwards, the temple treated us to a vegetarian lunch with the monks and other visitors. It was a rather interesting way to celebrate my parents' wedding anniversary, to say the least. Maybe a hindu temple next year?


Blogger yonzon3cousins said...

i think it was called the universal dharma sutra... ;-)

7:42 AM  
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6:29 AM  

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