The baci (pronounced "bassi") is a ceremony that celebrates a special event, such as a birth in the family, sickness, marriage, departure for travels or in my case, a welcome. After the prayers that are conducted by the elder, wellwishers gather around to give their blessings to person involved by tying a white string around their wrist. These symbolic threads are kept on for 3 days, after which they can be removed (you need to unpick them - cutting is bad luck apparently). At the office I only had about 20 or 30 bracelets, but at larger events like weddings the bride can have her whole arm covered in them.
Our baci was welcoming two newcomers to the office and saying goodbye to four people who were leaving. It was a pretty emotional time for the people who were going, with all their friends coming up one-by-one to wish them well for the future and pray for their well-being: I'm already dreading this time next year....!
|You hold the strings that are attached to the centre; wellwishers gather around and hold the edges of the thread (note the food in the background - baci ceremony always are accompanied by food - I'm not complaining!)|
|The first thread is tied on to your wrist as they say the blessing; you also are given some symbolic food to hold in your palm - we had chocolate wafers!|