Last June, the entire team of Mai Globe Travels attended the Sri Lankan wedding of our colleague Poorni and her husband Mangala. Marriage is a milestone and a symbolic step in the Sri Lankan culture.
Despite the importance of traditions, the bride and groom did not call an astrologer to analyze their ceremony but followed their family and personal convictions only. The usual custom is to call a professional in order to define the right day and perfect schedule for the union to happen, and the place of the ceremony.
For instance, they have exact timing for every single step of the ceremony such as when to get dressed, exchange rings and even when they have to leave the reception. Everything is organized and based on the predictions and study of the stars.
Special note regarding this Sri Lankan wedding, as the groom is military, there is an opening with swords held to honor the bride and groom.
The traditional outfits
Traditionally in Sri Lankan weddings, the husband must wear a special outfit, which is like the ancestral royal marriage costume back in Kandy’s royalty. The groom must also commit to special rules, such as not eating meat nor drinking alcohol for some time before the ceremony. However, today we can attend less traditional ceremonies, where the newlyweds are wearing classic costumes.
On the other hand, the bride followed the “Kandyan style”, with a white saree for the day and a red saree for the evening. The adornment in her hair called “Thun tella” and the 7 necklaces around her neck, also recall traditional ancestral Kandyan outfits. She was beautiful!
I am glad to say, that the guests can wear their most beautiful saree for the occasion!
The wedding’s steps
As a first step, the couple will stand on a platform called “Poruwa” and then performs all the rituals. It is by executing these and exchanging gifts that the two newlyweds prove their commitment to each other.
All of them have a symbolic value regarding Buddha and their families:
- Exchanging betel leaves shows dedication to Buddha and loved ones
- Giving clothes and food symbolizes that they will take good care of each other
- Exchanging clothes and food symbolizes that they will take good care of each other
- The exchange of the rings and a gold necklace for the Bride to symbolize their union
- Breaking a coconut to ward off evil spirits
- The candles are lit to ensure a bright and happy future
The dancing part
Once those executed, the closest relatives deliver their speech before lunch, leading to a great convivial moment where the guests interact and meet each other. Then it is time to head to the dance floor to celebrate the happy event.
The ceremony ends in the late afternoon.
The marriage ends with what is known as the “homecoming”, where the bride officially becomes the wife and is then welcomed by the in-laws. Today this part can turn into a festive evening with the close-circle.
To sum up, it was truly an incredible experience! Thank you to the newlyweds for inviting us to this unique event.
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