Customs and Traditions - Buddhist Wedding

♥ Pre-Wedding Rituals :

The Buddhists are strict conventionalist in the matters of ceremonies and the weddings are no exception. The augmentation of the pre-wedding rituals is marked by the formality of asking the bride's family for their assent by the groom's family. The propitious day for this is decided by the monk called Lama. This is followed by the betrothal ritual. The lama recites the prayers and then a concoction called the madyan, which is considered a religious drink, is served to the guests. The astrologer or the monk stipulates the auspicious day for the wedding.

♥ The Wedding :

In the early morning, the bride's and the groom's families arrive at the temple. The groom's family carries a procession of trays containing fruits, wine, traditional cake, tea, meat, and most importantly jewelry that the bride will get as dowry. The trays have to be either six or nine in number, never seven or eight as these are considered unlucky numbers. One of the trays also contains a pair of candles which are lit either by the bride and the groom or their parents; the tradition varies with places and countries. The lighting up of the two candles symbolizes the union of the two families.

Before a specially erected shrine and the image of Lord Buddha, the couple and the assembly recite a procession hymns- Vandana, Tisarana and Pancasila. The candles and the incense sticks are lit before the image of Lord Buddha and flowers are offered. Next, the bride and the groom recite the traditional undertakings as inscribed in Sigilovdda Sutta. The groom says:
"Towards my wife I undertake to love and respect her, be kind and considerate, be faithful, delegate domestic management, present gifts to please her."

The bride speaks thus:
"Towards my husband I undertake to perform my household duties efficiently, be hospitable to my in-laws and friends of my husband, be faithful, protect and invest our earnings, discharge my responsibilities lovingly and fastidiously."

The wedding ceremony is concluded with the recital of Mangal Sutta and Jayamangala Gatha as a blessing for the newlyweds.

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