Emotional wedding Haka moves Maori bride to tears, NZ
Wedding Guests Perform Traditional Haka To Honor Bride And Groom, Move Them To Tears
In America, the best man toast will generally bring about a few laughs. In New Zealand, loud grunting, chanting, and stomping is how wedding guests honor bride and groom.
In this case, it moved newlyweds Aaliyah and Benjamin Armstrong to tears.
The video, which was produced by Westone Productions (which is co-owned by Aaliyah's cousin, Heinrich Hettig) went instantly viral, racking up 26 million views.
The passionate ritual is called a Maori haka. It was originally a New Zealand war chant used to intimidate enemies with large shouts, exaggerated facial features and chest thumps. Now, it is commonly performed at funerals and weddings as a sign of respect.
The bride and groom were so moved by performance that they joined in at the end.
"I wasn't expecting to see so many men jump in. Just to see their love and their respect for us was quite overwhelming," Aaliyah told TODAY.com.
Both Benjamin and Aaliyah are astounded by the Internet's positive reaction to their video. They are hoping to use the attention to teach the world about their beautiful culture.
"It's a standard haka that most people know, so it gives people chance to step in and show their respect, whether you are young or old, whether your knowledge of this haka is strong or weak," said Aaliyah, 21. "It's a haka that is able to bring a lot of people together."
Last year, Prince Harry visited New Zealand and performed the haka with troops.
"We're just marveling. Little old New Zealand getting a shout out from everywhere. It's pretty ridiculous," Hettig said.
Video: Wedding Haka
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