Cambodian Weddings

Cambodian Weddings

Wedding ceremony is very meaningful for each of individual’s life who follows their tradition and the laws of the country. That is why this ceremony is carefully dealt with concerning to choosing the date which is believed to bring luck and harmony for the people’s lives and starting a new families. Some families do not allow their children to marry in the rain season and some delay it for two years after the engagement ceremony because of the fortune telling.

In the past, the wedding was last for three to seven days, but for the current situation, Cambodian people celebrate it just only for an day or a day and half, which require groom, bride and relatives to wake up in the very early morning to self-prepared such as make up and dress up to welcome all guests. The groom and bride are very busy from dawn to night to follow the chronological ceremony plus reception party in the evening. However, it is busy and tired, they are still joy to see their relative and friends come to bless them and dance together.

Weddings are important events in Cambodia. Rural Cambodians often use matchmakers and have arranged marriages, while city kids increasingly choose love matches. In Khmer wedding, it has a lot of ceremonies held in chronological orders. They show the historical roots related to the Buddha’s period, which existed ages ago. Oknha Nov wrote that the current wedding preparations are arranged according to the rules drawn up by King Preah Chey Chesda Thebdey.

On the other hand, according to the king’s book, it puts that all ceremonies in Khmer wedding are related to mythical stories such as a story “Som Sla Kanseng”. It is told that there were two men who went to feed their buffalos in the field would like to make friends with each other and wanted to be relative by marriage with each other because one had a son and the other had a daughter. In order to prove their words, they ask for betel nuts packed in krama from each other to show their promise that their children would marry to each other.

Another story is “the three betel flowers”. It describes that there were four men who had different skills – swimming, shooting, fortune telling, and magic. After completing their study, they returned home. Along the way back near a stream, the fortuneteller said that day they were going to meet a girl and become their wife. Then a big bird swooped down on a girl, Khemry, who was having a bath. Right away the shooting man took his bow and shot the bird down back to the stream. The swimmer then swam to bring her to the ground but she was just dead. After that the magic man helped her be alive again. All four men felt in love with the lad, so the Buddha judged them that she would become a wife of someone who swam to help her because he was able to touch her body first. And the fortuneteller, magic man, and shooting man would become the father, mother, and brother respectively. Since then in all weddings, the bride and the groom must have three betel flowers in order to show gratitude towards their parents and brothers/sisters.

The most important moment I Khmer wedding is Prince Thaong and Princess Tevtey.  Setting-the-date ceremony and the groom holding the scarf are told that Prince Thaong was married to Princess Tevtey, a daughter of the sea dragon king. After setting the date already, Tevtey had to bring him to her father at dragon world, so the sea dragon’s daughter asked the prince to hold her scarf in order to dive into the dragon world. In the meanwhile, the dragon king commanded his man to kill the prince at the gate in order to test the prince’s ability. But the daughter had known this; hence, she disguised herself as the prince by changing her skirt and it was put on the prince instead so that the killer was not able to kill the prince. That is why in the current Khmer wedding it was seen that there is clothes change between the groom and the bride, and the groom holding the bride’s scarf in to the room, accompanied by “Phat Cheay and Neang Neak” songs, etc.

The other important ceremony is the “Bongvil Popil”; people believed that it brings harmony and joyfulness for the new couples making them successful in all challenges. Therefore, Cambodia people always do the ceremony in their daughter and son’s wedding.

According to Mr. Nhean Phoeun, a researcher and publisher of Khmer tradition of national and international festival committee, he said that Khmer tradition allows people to marry only in a period of six months in a year but not the other six. Wedding can be carried out only in the 30-day months. Those six months could be in early May, July, October, January, and March. But for engagement ceremony and matching the natural chemistry between son and daughter, they could be performed in any month. Actually, the reason people do not get married in the rain season is that there are a lot of rains that make it difficult for the wedding reception, procession, and other ceremonies. It is also difficult for the guests travelling to wedding party and it is when farmers are busy with their fields.

Categories: Cultures

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