When you live in a country with several cultures, there’s a tendency to take it’s diversity for granted. You only realise how rich and wonderful these cultures are when you take a step back and look within with an outsider’s eye. With a multitude of festivals celebrated by so many ethnic groups it’s the weddings and their individual rituals and ceremonies that are memorable spectacles of vibrancy, tradition and heritage.
Where else in the world can you witness the “saath phere” of a Hindu wedding, the “adat resam kahwin or bersanding” of a Malay wedding, the exchanging of vows in church at a Christian wedding, the “chaar lavan” of a Sikh wedding, the chanting of hymns by Buddhist monks as they bless the couple or the tea ceremony at a Chinese wedding?
We have it all right here in our own backyard, “Malaysia Truly Asia”.
While we aspire time and again to be “Bangsa Malaysia” we are inherently proud of the traditions that separate us on a religious level. Our roots may have transmigrated from elsewhere but our ceremonies, rituals and habits are very much intact if not a little Malaysianized.
As is with every ceremony of solemnisation, the picture is only complete with the unmistakable sounds of accompaniment, be it a rhythm from a DJ on the decks, a dhol player whipping up a booming beat or a seasoned nadaswaram player carving out a tune setting the atmosphere for the occasion. The splashes of colour will dazzle while the infectious sounds seduce you. The visual and aural assault are one of a kind experiences no matter the number of times you may bear witness.
In the last few months I’ve had the pleasure of capturing a couple of weddings that were full on fun, laughter and merriment. Stills are great for photo albums but nothing tells the story quite like a well cut video. Traditionally, wedding videos would put you to sleep but a new breed of videographers are changing the playing field with mind-blowing footage and slick editing. Special mention to Shutter Up Studio who are consistently doing an amazing job with their Hollywood style cinematic edits. I had the opportunity to shadow these talented boys (unintentionally of course) and I can only say they are a hard act to follow.
Here’s my nieces’ video montage by them. An outstanding 10 minutes which captures every significant moment from an action packed 4 day wedding. Turn up the volume and watch it in full screen.
A celebration of cultures. This is how its done, Punjabi style.
The Roving Photographer