Groom on the way to the wedding.
Nature of the document:
Picture – B&W
Chrok Romirt Village, Kompong Chhnang Province, Cambodia.
Unknown. Local events photographer.
It’s the 3rd and last day of Nosawan’s (centre) wedding. Nosawan, a blacksmith – as most of the men of Chrok Romirt Village – is standing with his friends and relatives, on the way to join the final banquet: this last reception will welcome both close relatives and extended relations, both Khmers and Chams, villagers and outsiders. Two years later Nosawan will be beat to death by Khmers Rouges, and buried alive in the neighboring O’Russei Village. His wife will later on remarry several times, nowadays with a Khmer. His best friend standing on the right side of the picture – the only one still alive – will also get several wives including both khmers and chams ones.
Thanks to Ming Sarah and Ming Mariyam for their personal collection and for sharing the picture and story of their brother and cousin Nosawan.
Even if Nosawan’s family wasn’t aware of the origin of this name, it might refer to a legendary Cham monarch, himself evocating a glorious persian connection to the king Khosrow Anushirwan. More details on this famous Nosawan can be found in numerous classical articles on Chams, and notably :
AYMONIER Etienne 1890 « Légendes Historiques des Chams », Excursions et Reconnaissances, Vol. 14, No.32, p 145-206.
SETUDEH-NEJAD S. 2000 “The Encounter between Champa and Persia. Research on The Impact of West-Asiatic Cosmology in Southeast Asia”, SPAFA Journal, Vol. 10, Number 3, Bangkok, p 5-18.
What about today?
Tuon Ael, one of the most respected religion teacher of the village, is marrying his daughter. The groom, originally from the same village, is now working in an NGO Phnom Penh and Kpg Chhnang. On this 2nd and last day of the wedding, the young man is performing some traditional matrilocality in making his final entrance into the bride’s house: chams couples live either in a new house offered by the man, either to the bride’s parents, like in this very example.
For those more curious on matrilocality as traditionally performed among Chams :
LAFONT Pierre Bernard 1964 : « Contribution à l’étude des structures sociales des chams du Viet-Nam », BEFEO LII, Paris, p 157-171.
Phnom Penh, February 11, 2013, Emiko Stock.
Those little field-notes are reminiscences of the past blogs and shares. While they are not proud of their flaws, I thought they shouldn’t be punished for it. Hopefully you will forgive them to be just as they come, just as they will remain.
* Originally published on the former Du Fin Fond Du Grenier website, September 2007.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.