|A wedding feast of the Thai people in the northern province of Son La.
Before the wedding ceremony, the families of the groom and the bride ask match-makers to represent them by singing at the event. There are no requirements for the match-makers but they should be good at singing and hosting an event. The singing usually takes place during the wedding feast.
Cam Vui of Son La province has been a match-maker at dozens of weddings. When a match-maker takes the groom to meet the bride’s family for the first time, the groom’s family sings greetings and best wishes to the bride’s family, says Vui. Then the match makers for the two sides sing a duet praising the parents for raising their children well.
"Thanks to everyone in the bride’s family for accepting our groom. From now on, please treat him as one of your family members, living together under the same roof. Please help him become a good son-in-law," sings Vui.
A match-maker for the bride’s family will sing some beautiful words for the groom and his family, asking the groom to help the bride climb up to his stilt house and take her as his wife for the rest of his life.
The match-maker for the groom’s side will sing in response to welcome the bride and thank her for the wedding gifts - a brocade blanket, pillows, and scarves - often made by the bride herself to pay respect to her future in-laws.
Cam Vui demonstrated a song to welcome a new bride, "The bride has come with her many beautiful wedding gifts. She has arrived at her in-laws’ house. Her father-in-law will open the door for her, while her mother-in-law will take her up the stairs. All the groom’s relatives are here to welcome the bride. A staircase with 9 wooden steps was prepared for the bride to climb up to the stilt house. Hopefully, the bride will live happily and in harmony with everybody."
After each song, the singer pauses and asks everyone in attendance to drink and toast to the new couple. Songs are sung throughout the evening.
"When I was little, I used to follow my parents and uncles who acted as match-makers and sang these songs. This helped me to appreciate the beauty and uniqueness of Thai culture. I’m learning more about this custom and plan to become a match-maker and sing at weddings," said Ca Thi Hoan, a Thai culture expert in Son La province.
The custom of singing to bid farewell to the son and welcome the new daughter-in-law has been treasured by the Thai people and passed down through many generations.