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Peranakan magnificence for wedding celebrations in Phuket

All the splendours of the Peranakan culture, a strong Chinese-Malay community originated from Malaya, will be organized for wedding couples coming from all over the world to Phuket at the end of June. An opportunity to discover also the links between Phuket and the Malay Peninsula.

PHUKET – What is Peranakan? This peculiar culture was shaped by the blend of Chinese and Malay cultures and developed at the end of the 19th century following the boom of the tin industry along the West Coast of the Malay Peninsula. Intra-marriage and a strong commitment to blend Malay and Chinese cultures and keep traditions alive have given the Peranakan culture –also named Baba and Nyonya culture- its unmistakable identity. 
Most of the strongest elements of Peranakan cultures can be traced in Malacca, Penang and Singapore, some other cities in the region have also been important areas for these Sino-Malay culture. This is the case in Medan –North Sumatra- and above all in Phuket in Southern Thailand. The boom of the tin industry in the island attracted some hundred years ago Sino-Malay communities from Malaya who settled in Phuket. They largely contributed to the identity of Phuket old town. 
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) in cooperation with the Thai Peranakan Association, Phuket City and the Blue Elephant Cooking School and Restaurant Phuket are inviting couples worldwide to celebrate Peranakan genuine culture by joining the Phuket Baba Wedding 2014. This year’s traditional wedding celebration is set to take place in Phuket from 21 to 23 June.
Apichai Chatchalermkit, Director of the Events Promotion Division of TAT said, “The Baba Wedding event has become a highlight on TAT’s annual calendar in Phuket. It positions Phuket as one of Asia’s most preferred wedding destinations for both domestic and international couples travelling with their families”.
We are inviting wedding planners and couples from India, Korea, China, Japan, Australia and Germany looking for different wedding themes to join this year’s event at Thailand’s premier beach destination. It will be a unique and memorable event for couples as well as friends and relatives joining the ceremony.”
The wedding reception starts 22 June at the magnificent Blue Elephant Cooking School and Restaurant Phuket, where newlyweds and their families will celebrate this memorable day in style. The venue is the former mansion of Phuket Gouvernor Phra Pitak Chinpracha and is a Phuket historical treasure. It is considered one of the finest examples of authentic Sino-Malay architecture in Thailand and is designated as the ‘House of the Groom’.
An elegant tea ceremony consummates the actual wedding, which, this year will be held at Phuket’s Hongsyok Mansion. It is designated as the ‘House of the Bride’.
Once the nuptials are completed, this is followed by a vibrant wedding procession along Thalang Road, one of Phuket’s Old Town’s most famous streets. It will be decorated with Chinese lanterns and floral displays, showcasing the traditional beauty of Peranakan weddings. A Baba wedding traditionally used to be a statement of the wealth and social standing for a family, and was regarded as one of the most important ceremonies in a person’s life.
The registration fee is 39,000 Baht per couple for those who would like to take part in this exclusive, traditional wedding opportunity. The deal includes three nights’ luxury accommodation, three-day tour programme in Phuket and wedding photos at romantic Laem Phromthep (one of Phuket’s most important landmarks). Registration is still possible until the end of May. 
Phuket Baba Wedding is fast becoming one of Thailand’s must-do annual events. It was first organised in Phuket in 2005 with the cooperation of Thailand’s Ministry of Culture. Since then it has become the country’s showcase celebration to preserve Perankan culture, wedding rituals, attire as well as authentic Baba/Nyonya cuisine.
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Luc Citrinot a French national is a freelance journalist and consultant in tourism and air transport with over 20 years experience. Based in Paris and Bangkok, he works for various travel and air transport trade publications in Europe and Asia.