I caught the most fantastic documentary on Compass, on the ABC last night.
(For those unfamiliar with Compass, it's a weekly program on the ABC network in Australia that focusses on a broad range or religious/ethical issues. The format each week is that of a different one hour documentary, sometimes commissioned especially for Compass.)
Last night's documentary was called A Pig, A Chicken & A Bag of Rice and told the story of Phil Bathols and Ongmu Denzopa. He is an Australian and she is from Sikkim, a tiny state in the Himalayan region of northern India. Having met in Australia and fallen in love, the documentary followed their traditional Buddhist marriage ceremony held at the home of Ongmu's parents in the capital of Gangtok. The title of the documentary comes from some of the ritual offerings made by the groom and his family to the family of the bride.
It was such a heartwarming story, especially in the way that both families approached each other from each side of a massive cultural divide. The warmth and openness shown towards each other was really beautiful to see. Around 15 of the groom's friends and family had made the big trek from Australia to the remote region of the Himalayas for the ceremony, and although the lengthy traditional Buddhist ceremony was something none of them had encountered before, singing Karaoke and dancing the conga line obviously transcended all cultural boundaries!