Sri Lankan Traditional Wedding
A wedding is a common ceremony spread widely amongst almost all the nations and traditions. But Sri Lankan weddings somehow are more colourful and interesting than the majority. It is not only because of the colourful jewellery and costumes, it's also because of the traditions and the customs that we follow. By following these rituals and traditions it is believed that the married couple will be blessed with prosperity and fortune.
The wedding culture in Sri Lanka consists of two different traditions, the Up country tradition also known as the Uda Rata tradition and the Southern Tradition also known as the Pahatha Rata tradition. The Uda Rata weddings are the most colourful ones and it is believed to be indigenous to Sri Lanka. The Pahatha Rata customs have a south Indian touch.
- Nekath-The Auspicious Time
- Poruwa Ceremony
- Wedding procession
- Auspicious 'seven'
- Golden Knot
- Mother care
- Chathurthi Karma
- Shining bright
The traditional Sri Lankan Wedding Ceremony is a beautiful exchange of vows and symbolic gifts that dates back to 300 BC. These traditional Buddhist Weddings are influenced by the Hindu culture which gives prominence to "Nekath" which refers to the auspicious time.
Sri Lankan Traditional Wedding Ceremony Order of Events
The entire traditional marriage Poruwa ceremony takes about 45 minutes and proceeds as follows:
- Bride and then the groom will be accompanied from their hotel rooms to the marriage ceremony in a spectacular mini procession. Highlights include Kandyan traditional dancers and drummers.
- Master of Ceremonies invites the couple to be married to the special marriage platform called the Poruwa, blowing of the conch shell.
- The couple will exchange not just vows but also a sheaf of betel leaves exactly 7 times in a tradition that means the bond, unity and love will last for 7 generations.
- The marriage is symbolised by tying the index fingers of the couple with a golden chain and water poured on it by the Master of Ceremonies from a Kandiyan crafted silver jug whilst chanting blessings from God.
- After the couple exchange rings they feed each other with milk, rice and water, a symbolic pledge to take care of each other for life.
- To celebrate the marriage young girls clad in the traditional Sri Lankan saree will sing wedding songs. The girls are traditionally given a symbolic gift.
- The newly wed couple is invited to step out of the special marriage ceremony stage amidst chanting and beating of drums. No sooner the couple steps down, a coconut is dashed to bless them with children.
- The couple lights the traditional oil lamp lit at all important occasions in Sri Lanka to symbolise light of hope and success.
- The newly married couple and witnesses, one of whom should be a citizen of Sri Lanka, sign the marriage certificate in the presence of the Registrar of Marriages.
- It is at this final stage, if desired, that the ornately dressed elephants carry the couple for a ride along the beach.
For further information:
Registrar General's Department of Sri Lanka,
No 280, Main Street,
Phone: (+94) 112 393 071