One of the most joyous and celebrated occasions in Khmer traditions is a marriage in a Khmer family. Wedding celebrations may last for approximately 3 days and can even stretch on for a week, and is usually filled with much merriment, festivity and colour. A lot of preparation goes into the numerous events that are held during the wedding period and is bound to keep the whole family busy and celebrating on a continuous basis.
The Khmer tradition of the wedding evolves around the legendary story of Cambodia’s origins. It is said that the first Khmer prince, Preah Thong, married the Naga princess, Neang Neak, who he met on his many travels as he was exiled from his homeland. As a marriage gift, the princess’s father was said to have swallowed a part of the ocean bringing forth the land of Cambodia.
As the wedding celebrations begin, family, friends and other community members continue to stream in to join in this joyous occasion. Some typical features of the wedding would include a band of musicians playing throughout the day, and the bride changing her wedding garments time and again. Dressed like royalty, the couple is truly a magnificent sight to see.
The wedding ceremony is made up of many events put together. Some of the highlights from these include the Groom’s Processional where the groom is invited to the bride’s home bearing many fruits and sweets. The Cleansing Ceremony will captivate you as according to Khmer tradition the couple needs to undergo a process of elaborate cleansing that involves dancing around the couple, cutting their hair, shaving the groom and perfuming them. The knot tying ceremony is also a unique one where family and friends come forward to tie ribbons on the couple’s wrists as a sign of good wishes and to be photographed with them.
Apart from all the festivities of the actual wedding celebrations, there are plenty of other pre and post wedding functions as well. Witnessing and being part of a Khmer wedding is a true experience of the extensive culture and rituals involved in Khmer traditions and are a series of events that you will never forget.
Tourists visiting the city can stay at the Raffles Hotel Le Royal which is a luxury hotel in Phnom Penh. This elegant hotel is an ideal base from which to explore the traditions, culture and sites of the city and also proves to be an ideal wedding hotel in Phnom Penh.