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Groom & Bride

 

Have you ever been to a wedding?

Did you ever attend a wedding ceremony so completely different from what you are familiar with?

I cannot forget, one of  the most memorable wedding ceremonies that I have attended, and I enjoyed it immensely. It was so unique and totally different from any other nuptials that I have ever been to before.

In August of 2014, I was fortunate enough to be invited by my Sri Lankan friend to his daughter’s wedding.

It was the middle of the rainy season in Sri Lanka, which added to the nice and cool ambiance. Even before my plane landed, I was so excited and filled with anticipation. To be a part of such a unique experience was such a privilege for me.

Unlike in my home country, where June is the most popular month to have a wedding. So much so, that churches and venues are booked months in advance just to be a “June bride”. I learned that there is no special month preferred for a wedding in Sri Lanka. It depends on the auspicious time according to both the horoscope matches of the bride and groom. The formal date and time of the wedding is predetermined by the dates and times of the couple’s birth, they strongly believe in Astrology and using horoscope.

 

Buddhism is the predominant religion in this island country. Largely, marriages in Sri Lanka are arranged or semi-arranged through the community and the match-making services that exist within the various traditions. Modern weddings are leaning more and more towards love matches, like in the rest of South Asia, but tradition and religion are still paramount to the proceedings.

Anyway  I was so super super excited, to experience how it is, and how it looks. The ceremony, the food, and the wedding gown. Of course since i’m a girl, I really wanted to see the style and beauty of the wedding dress.

The wedding ceremony started at 7pm and was held in a Hotel. Yes, it can be in a beach, or in a huge garden or in a Hotel, not like in the Philippines where weddings are most often performed strictly in a church if you are pure catholic. At first I thought they would have the wedding in a Buddhist temple, but I was wrong.

 

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The bridegroom arrives in procession at the prescribed auspicious time, accompanied by drummers and dancers

 

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Welcome wedding dance

 

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The Groom

 

The bride’s nephew washes the groom’s feet, symbolizing that the bride’s family welcomes the groom to their fold.

 

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The groom drops a ring into the bowl containing water, symbolizing gratitude for being welcomed

 

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Drummers

 

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Traditional wedding Dance

 

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Traditional Wedding Dancers in their costumes

 

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Welcome dance for the Bride

 

The groom and his family will assemble on the left of the Poruwa, while the bride and her family assemble on the right. The couple will then enter the Poruwa, leading with the right foot accompanied by their respective fathers.

 

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The groom and bride will then greet each other with palms held together in the traditional manner

 

The Poruwa is a beautifully decorated traditional wooden platform, which can feature an overhanging roof that looks sort of like a silk umbrella. The bride and groom walk up to the Poruwa together, leading with their right foot, and face their guests.  The guests are divided based on their relation to the couple – the bride’s side sits on the right side of the platform and the groom’s side on the left. By the way, bonus fact: the footage stage of the Poruwa needs to be 3 feet high from the floor, with 3 steps. Its width should be 6×6 feet.

 

The bride arrives at a prescribed time, often wearing a white veil in a custom borrowed from the west.

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She will be dressed in a white saree (some times home-made by herself on a hand loom) and jewelry of traditional design

 

The Asthaka (master of ceremonies) presents a hand of betel leaves to the couple, which they accept and then hand back to him to be placed at an elevated position on the Poruwa. This symbolizes the offering of betel to god. In Sri Lankan Buddhist custom, a sheaf of betel (botanical name Piper betle) is offered as a token of respect in all ceremonial occasions.

 

The groom’s best man, hands a tray to the groom with fourteen sheaves of betel leaves, each with a coin in the middle (the custom may vary). The groom holds the tray while the bride takes one sheaf at a time and drops it on the Poruwa.

 

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The groom repeats this process. This is a custom carried out to remember seven generations of relatives on each side

 

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The best man then hands a necklace to the groom, who in turn places it around the bride’s neck

 

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The groom locks the necklace on the bride very carefully

 

The groom and bride exchange wedding rings handed to them by the best man and the bride’s brother. The rings are placed on the fourth finger of the left hand.

 

Her uncle walks up to the Poruwa and ties the pinky fingers of both the bride and groom together. He pours water over the fingers so that the water and the ground it lands on can be the lasting witnesses to the union.

 

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The bride’s uncle then turns the couple around three times clockwise on the platform

 

Water and earth being the eternal verities, the water so poured and the earth on which it falls are intended to be the lasting witnesses to the marriage.

 

 

Next the groom presents his bride with a saree , which she will then present to her mother.

 

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This is an expression of the groom’s gratitude to his mother-in-law for bringing up her daughter (The Bride)

 

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the groom hands his bride a white cloth which she passes to her mother. This cloth symbolizes the groom’s happiness and gratitude towards his new mother-in-law for raising his bride

 

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Next the groom’s mother will present the going away outfit. Traditionally the going away outfit is a saree

 

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The Groom’s mother

 

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The groom hands the dress over to the bride, who in turn will hand it over to her cousin(it should be the sister but the bride is an only child)

 

The bride’s mother (or it can be the bride’s sister) gives the couple a special mix of milk, rice and kavum(a deep-fried Sri Lankan pastry).

 

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The bride feeds her husband one piece, and he feeds her another in return

 

This is a symbolic pledge to take care of each other for life.

 

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The newly weds will present a sheaf of betel to both parents

 

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The groom and bride will worship their parents with bended knees

 

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The newly weds will present a gift to the bride’s uncle who tied the thread

 

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Four Girls dressed in “half sarees” sing “Jayamangala Gatha” these are wedding songs invoking blessings from Buddhist Scriptures. Half saree is a traditional outfit worn by young girls in Sri Lanka

 

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A group of teenage girls related to the couple sing “Jayamangala Gatha”

 

Girls singing the Jayamangala Gatha. Give the presents to them when they finish. (Place about Rs. 300/- in an envelope and hand it to them when they finish the singing).
Getting down from the Poruwa as the MC the Shilapadhipathi, who is more the MC than a priest, chants the blessings with the help from the father of the groom.

 

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Preparing to break the coconut

 

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Fire and betel leaves are put in the coconut

 

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the uncle of the bride ( it can be hilpathipathi / MC ) breaks a coconut in half, blessing their union

 

The bride’s family member (uncle) breaks open a fresh coconut in two. As family members and guests are waiting to see .. If the couple will have a boy? Or girl?.. Or maybe twins?

Coconut – to signify fertility;

 

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Lighting of the oil lamp

 

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The Poruwa ceremony ends with the bride and groom lighting a brass oil lamp together, promising to keep their hearts burning always

 

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Registration of the marriage. And did you see the lamp?.. isn’t it so beautiful? And the bride is so gorgeous

 

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Cutting of the cake

 

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the bride gives a piece of cake to all bridesmaids..using her hands

 

The Poruwa Ceremony is sometimes followed by a Western-style reception.  Couples may add their own spin to their Poruwa Ceremony with dancers who enter before them or a garland exchange, but generally Buddhist Sinhalese couples stick to the above.  All in all the Poruwa Ceremony is a lasting vestige of Sri Lankan culture and is honored as such.

 

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Time to eat…

 

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all of a sudden, the singers sing an Espanol or Spanish song hahahaha

 

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the singers wearing Spanish costumes, The bride’s father (who works in the U.N.) favorite songs are Spanish songs

 

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The famous and very expensive wedding cake “Fruit Cake” (this is beautifully packaged and given away as souvenirs for the guests)

 

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My escort .. This little handsome boy

 

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he’s so cute…
Buddhist Weddings are influenced by the Hindu culture which gives prominence to ‘Nekath’, the auspicious times. The ‘Nekath’ is derived from the horoscopes of the bride and groom that is created based on their dates and times of birth.

Of the many traditional events that take place during a Buddhist wedding, the ‘Poruwa’ ceremony is the most important. The Nekath strictly guides the ceremony.

This event is called the ‘Poruwa Siritha’ (Ceremony). The Poruwa Siritha appears to have existed in Sri Lanka before the introduction of Buddhism in the 3rd Century B.C. Through the ages; many innovations have been introduced to the Poruwa Siritha. By and large, the men and women of present day society realize the value of their heritage and are motivated to protect and preserve traditions of their past for posterity. The Poruwa Siritha was as valid custom as a registered marriage until the British introduced the registration of marriages by Law in 1870. Today’s Poruwa Siritha has been influenced by both upcountry and low country customs of Sri Lanka.

 

Hmmm….Did you encounter cultural differences? and have you ever dated a foreigner?…

 

www.sltda.gov.lk/

http://www.srilanka.travel/

www.sltda.lk/statistics

227 thoughts on “Happy to Attend a Wedding in Another Culture… Sri Lankan Traditional Wedding.

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    Swart’s remarkable innings included 18 fours and 12 sixes.
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    Easterns bowler Tumi Sekukune took an impressive five wickets for 15 runs – but it wasn’t enough to overcome ‘Team Swart’.

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    Easterns during Cricket South Africa’s Under-19s week in Pretoria on Monday.

    Swart’s remarkable innings included 18 fours and 12 sixes.
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    South Africa’s Under-19s week in Pretoria on Monday.

    Swart’s remarkable innings included 18 fours and 12
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    Easterns bowler Tumi Sekukune took an impressive five
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  19. Have you ever played in one those games where you wonder why
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    Swart’s remarkable innings included 18 fours and 12 sixes.
    Eight of her team-mates came and went for a grand total of no
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    (The other nine runs were extras.)
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    Easterns bowler Tumi Sekukune took an impressive five wickets
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    Well spare a thought for Mpumalanga batter Shania-Lee Swart, who was the only player
    to score a run as she hit 160 from 86 balls in a 42-run victory over
    Easterns during Cricket South Africa’s Under-19s week in Pretoria on Monday.

    Swart’s remarkable innings included 18 fours and 12 sixes.
    Eight of her team-mates came and went for a grand total
    of no runs as her side racked up 169-8 in 20 overs.
    (The other nine runs were extras.)
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    Easterns bowler Tumi Sekukune took an impressive five wickets
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  22. Have you ever played in one those games where you wonder why the
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    Well spare a thought for Mpumalanga batter Shania-Lee Swart, who was the only player to score
    a run as she hit 160 from 86 balls in a 42-run victory over Easterns
    during Cricket South Africa’s Under-19s week in Pretoria on Monday.

    Swart’s remarkable innings included 18 fours and 12 sixes.

    Eight of her team-mates came and went for a grand total of no runs as her side racked
    up 169-8 in 20 overs. (The other nine runs were extras.)
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    Easterns bowler Tumi Sekukune took an impressive five wickets for 15 runs – but it wasn’t enough to overcome ‘Team Swart’.

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  23. Have you ever played in one those games where you wonder why the rest of your team-mates bothered turning up at all?

    Well spare a thought for Mpumalanga batter Shania-Lee Swart,
    who was the only player to score a run as she hit 160
    from 86 balls in a 42-run victory over Easterns during Cricket South Africa’s
    Under-19s week in Pretoria on Monday.
    Swart’s remarkable innings included 18 fours and 12
    sixes. Eight of her team-mates came and went for a grand total of no runs as
    her side racked up 169-8 in 20 overs. (The other nine runs
    were extras.)
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    Easterns bowler Tumi Sekukune took an impressive five wickets for 15
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  24. Have you ever played in one those games
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    Well spare a thought for Mpumalanga batter
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    balls in a 42-run victory over Easterns during Cricket South Africa’s Under-19s
    week in Pretoria on Monday.
    Swart’s remarkable innings included 18 fours and 12 sixes.
    Eight of her team-mates came and went for a grand total of no runs as her
    side racked up 169-8 in 20 overs. (The other nine runs were extras.)
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    Easterns bowler Tumi Sekukune took an impressive five wickets for 15 runs – but it wasn’t enough to overcome ‘Team Swart’.

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