Hundreds of people turned out today (August 15) to take part in or watch the parade that was the highlight of the Phuket Baba Wedding organised by the local Peranakan Association.
Led by a silver band and senior fugures of the Baba community riding in bicycle rickshaws, the procession started out from the Tourism Authority of Thailand offices, going along Thalang Rd and Krabi Rd to the Thai Hua Museum, originally the Thai Hua School, the community’s main centre of education.
“Married” in the celebrations were couples from Thailand, China, Taiwan and Japan, who paid B39,000 for a white suit for him and a spectacular traditional Chinese costume for her, along with make-up and a new hairdo.
The style of the whole event was that of 19th century Phuket, at the height of the tin boom and the wealth that brought to the island’s Chinese community. In those days, wedding celebrations might go on for eight or nine days but in this case, matters were shortened to and evening and a day. (But what a day – the brides had to be up and ready for the make-up and hair session at around 3am)
Yesterday evening (April 14), celebrants poured into the grounds of the elegant Hongyok Mansion on Thepkrassatri Rd, Phuket Town, for a recreation of the “Making of the Desserts Day”, one of the more important events in a traditional Baba wedding.
This included a concert by the Yala Municipal Youth Orchestra and a performance by the world-renowned Joe Louis Puppet Theatre (the troupe won “Best Traditional Performance Award” at the 10th World Festival of Puppet Art held in Prague in 2006, beating troupes from 43 other countries).
The Peranakans (or Baba-Nyonya) are descendants of Chinese immigrants who settled in Southeast Asia in the 16th century, particularly in Singapore, Penang, Melaka, Medan and Phuket. Ties between these communities remain strong to this day.
Part of the Baba, or Peranakan, heritage – very much on display over the night and day of the wedding, is the traditional styles of dress. Here are some more pictures: