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Part II - Nyoman and Kadek are Getting Married

Balinese Courtship in the Modern Era.

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Nyoman and Kadek's courtship was equally influenced by the modern economy of Bali and the ages-old Hindu cosmology that directs their wedding ceremony. Take their meeting, for instance. If it weren't for the jobs that the Kuta area has created in the recent past, they might not have met at all. Kadek is from the rice-growing region of Tabanan, a country-girl - the classic, beautiful, farmer's daughter. She came to Seminyak less than four years ago looking for work. There she discovered Nyoman, the love of her life, as a customer in the warung - the roadside food stall, where she works.

Kadek's native charms were irresistible to Nyoman. He developed hunger pains whenever she was working. His friends teased him about his rapid weight gain and his lovesick moodiness. The way to this man's heart was via his stomach: Flirtations were a side dish at every meal that finally lead to romance and then a proposal.

Eventually they traveled by motorbike to her home for that critical first meeting with her parents, followed by many more visits to demonstrate the sincerity of his intentions. When Nyoman finally asked permission to wed their daughter, there was little surprise. He had already earned the family's approval. Although tradition would demand that their daughter would leave them to become a part of the boy's family, they happily granted the young man's wish.

The priest was consulted to choose an auspicious date on the Balinese calendar for the wedding ceremony. Invitations, made with the traditional Om Swasti Astu blessings printed in gold on the heavy maroon paper, were ordered. Family members prepared the offerings prescribed by the event. Expert ceremonial elders were contacted to check the offerings for exact replication of the necessary flowers and colored rice. Matters of dress are strictly pre-ordained. The blessings and incantations of the priest in ancient Sanskrit will be sung, unchanged over the centuries.

The rite of passage to married life will leave the couple more deeply entrenched in Balinese-Hindu customs; less attached to their distinct attachment to one another, and more ready to accept the responsibilities they will gain by becoming mature adults; full participants in their village society and peers with their parents.

In time, they will bring their own children into their household, in the unending cycle that sees the modern and new blend with traditional Balinese life.

Next week, another installment of "Nyoman and Kadek are Getting Married" - offerings and prayers on the wedding day.

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