A traditional Cambodian wedding is comprised of many ceremonies, music, meals, gifts, and guests lasting for three days and three nights. Cambodians choose the number three because of its relation to “three jewels” of Buddhism: the Buddha, the Sangha, and the Dhamma. The bride and groom are attired in bright color silk costumes. A wedding in Cambodia has to follow a lot of ceremonies. Below is the example of a traditional Cambodian wedding in three days.
The First Day of Cambodian Wedding Ceremony
First of all, the groom’s family will travel to the bride’s home to give dowry money. Normally, the groom will pay dowry as money or gifts to the parents of the bride. In Cambodia, where people live for society, marriage is not simply between a man and a woman but between families also. The more dowry money the groom has, the more respect he shows to the bride’s family, at the same time, proves his financial ability to their wife’s family.
Monk Blessing – Soat Mun
As far as you know, Cambodia is a religious country with nearly 90% population is Buddhism followers. In this important occasion of the Cambodian life cycle, monks will play as the one bless the couple by dropping flower water while chanting their blessings. During the ceremony, the guests and couple are required to keep quiet with their heads bowed and put their hands together.
Honoring the Parents – Bang Chhat Madaiy
On this occasion, the groom and bride will hold umbrellas over each other parents as a way to honor and thank their parents for taking care of them for the whole life. Now that they have married, they will protect back to their parents. Then, the groom and bride offer fruit and sugar to their parents while the MC talks about the responsibility to pay attention and admire to their parents.
The Second Day of Cambodian Wedding Ceremony
Groom’s Processional (Parade) – Hai Goan Gomloh
On the second day, the groom will come and bring gifts to the bride’s house to meet her family and talk to the bride’s family. Guests when coming should bring a silver tray of fruit and gifts so they can follow the groom’s journey to the bride’s house (often a short distance). When the groom approaches his wife’s house, all these silver trays will be presented on the floor, then a young lady will dance and sing among the gifts to show the richness of the groom’s family.
Honoring the Ancestors – Sien Doan Taa
As a religious country, Cambodians always show respect and admiration to their ancestors. On this occasion, the bride and groom stand in front of the altar ancestors bow their heads and offer food and tea. Meanwhile, a person “calls” ancestors to come and watch the new family member and bless for the good living family. Cambodia often performs this kind of ceremony at an important occasion like the lunar new year, a full-month celebration party, and harvest moon festivals.
Hair-Cutting (Cleansing) Ceremony – Gaat SahCambodian believes that the bride and groom’s hair should be cut to clean their past and be ready for a fresh start in a new relationship as husband and wife. In this ceremony, the couple sits next to each other in chairs, while two Khmer singers (one man, one woman) dance around; pretend to cut the couple hair and spray the perfume.
The Third Day of Cambodian Wedding Ceremony
The Passing of Blessings – Bongvul Pbopul
In this ceremony, not only family but the guests will also be get involved. The couple kneels in a center of the circle made by married couples. Then three candles are passed around the couple seven times. The aim of this ceremony is to help the young couple receive happy and successful from married couples.
Knot-Tying Ceremony – Sompeas Ptem
This is the final and the most memorable ceremony at the wedding, in which family members and guests tied a red string around the bride and groom’s wrists. This ceremony is all about blessing the happiness, good health, success, and long-lasting love for the young couple. The ceremony ended with guests throw pka sla, or white seeds taken from palm tree pods.
It will be a precious opportunity for you if you are invited to a Cambodian traditional wedding, which shows us the unique culture you can find nowhere on this planet. So, during your Cambodia Vacation, if someone invites you to attend a Cambodian wedding, don’t hesitate to join this special day.