A New Zealand couple’s wedding video is making rounds across the internet showing that love and respect know no cultural bounds.
After tying the knot in Auckland last weekend, Aaliyah and Benjamin Armstrong were treated to a surprise performance by the groomsmen and guests. The men performed the haka, a traditional Maori war dance in which participants stamp their feet, stick out their tongues, slap their chests, and shout in unison.
While it might seem like the groomsmen are trying to intimidate Benjamin, the haka is in fact a sign of respect. While the war dance was used on the battlefield in ancient times, it also serves as a “fierce display of a tribe’s pride, strength, and unity.” It may be used during Maori ceremonies and celebrations to revere guests or mark a milestone.
In the clip, Benjamin and Aaliyah watch on with reverence and eventually, the 21-year-old bride comes to tears saying she was “blown away.”
Tradition goes that women watch the haka from the sidelines as their men prepare for battle, though Aaliyah says exceptions are made at weddings. She said “I wasn’t planning on jumping in until one bridesmaid did and I felt the need to show love and respect back.”
Watch the emotional video here. We dare you not to tear up.