Traditional Sri Lankan Weddings

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Known for their pomp and pageantry Sri Lankan weddings have often been regarded one of the most elaborate nuptial ceremonies in the world. A traditional Sri Lankan wedding is a cultural affair like no other as the country’s proud agricultural and Buddhist heritage comes in to play to join the hands of a man and a woman.

Conducted according to the individual horoscopes of the couple the auspicious times and date of a traditional wedding in Sri Lanka are all determined by astrologers. Various fortunate hours are allocated to perform diverse rituals from the time the bridegroom steps out of his home to the time when he is welcomed by the bride’s family at the venue of the celebrations. The construction of a “Poruwa” is integral to the preparation of a Sri Lankan wedding as the structure adorned with flowers, rice and other traditional motifs serves as the alter in which the sacred marriage rites are carried out.

Arriving with a procession of relatives and loved ones the bridegroom is welcomed in to the venue with the sound of fire crackers. A male relative from the bride’s side washes the feet of the groom and the groom in turn drops a gold ring in to the water for his new in-law. Traditional drums and Kandyan dancers then accompany the party to the site of the Poruwa. Once the bride and the groom are on the Poruwa, a master of ceremonies begins reading Ashtaka blessings and instructs the couple on the various rituals of exchanging betel leaves and the wedding rings. The groom also dons his bride with a necklace after which their fingers are tied in a white thread by male relatives from either side and water is poured on the “binding” from an ornate utensil. Thanksgiving gifts are also handed to the couple’s parents as young girls dressed in traditional garbs sing “Jayamangala Gatha”. After stepping down from the Poruwa the couple join their guests in a feast which includes Kiribath and traditional sweetmeats such as Kevum and Kokis.

Uditha Dharmawardhane is a travel writer who writes under the pen name Roland Lefevre. He specializes in creating features on leisure as well as business travel destinations across the globe. Google+

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