Cambodia Wedding is the intricate and beautiful trait of culture for foreigners to learn and discover during their travel to this Southeast Asian country. Perhaps, you encounter some scenes of the Khmer wedding ceremonies and would love to know their meanings, then knowledge of Cambodia culture below can cultivate and enhance your interest in this charming destination.
Khmer Wedding Ceremony in a Traditional Concept
Traditionally, the Khmer wedding takes place in 3 days and 3 nights. Number “three” is considered to be auspicious by the Cambodians due to its relation to the Buddhism’s “three jewels”: the Buddha, Shangha (the monks’ brotherhood), and Dhamma (the Buddha’s teaching). However, because of the modern life’s time limit, both in Cambodia and overseas, the wedding ceremony is often shortened, simplified, and done within one day. But, there are still some Cambodians that appreciate their cultural traditions and preserve the rituals for the 3-day wedding.
Regarding the ceremony, it covers four major events:
Event 1: Dowry Presentation
The groom and his family comes to the bride’s home to give her some gifts called dowry. In this initial stage, the family members and relatives of the two families are introduced to each other; also, the wedding rings are exchanged. The bride’s family is likely to play these three songs accordingly to the activities being performed: Neay Pream He Kaun Kamlas (when the groom and his family arrive), Chambak Rouy (when he presents the dowry), and Pak Paeuk Pisa Sla (when the elders are invited to chew betel nuts).
Event 2: Tea Ceremony
The Khmer bride and groom give tea to their ancestors’ spirits. It is a way to show respect and gratitude to the ancestors, which is also being practiced well in Vietnam.
Event 3: Hair Cutting
To make the new bride and groom the married couple, their hair should be cut symbolically. This ritual embodies the fresh beginning of the new relationship as husband and wife. The ceremony’s master will cut their hair and offer the best wishes of forever happiness, prosperity, and longevity. Then, their parents, relatives, and friends will take the symbolic cut and deliver blessings to the couple. The two songs played during this ceremony are Sarika Keiv Vong (The Beautiful Cardinal Bird) and Trapeang Peiy (The Village Pond).
Event 4: Pairing Ritual
The bride and groom’s left and right wrists are tied to each other with the blessing strings by their family members and loved ones. The best wishes are exchanged while the gong sound and exciting cheer acknowledge the long-lasting marriage. The pairing ceremony might end with the shower of palm flowers over the new spouses. During this last stage, there include some interesting activities, for example, only the married people are allowed to sit around the new couple as the revered flame is rotated 7 times around them. In terms of the flame of the bee-wax candle, it conveys some special meanings to notice. The flame itself reflects anger which the married pairs should avoid so that they can nurture the relationship; its smoke is sacred and helps them to get rid of the evils. Therefore, the family members should try to move their hands over the flame of the candle to guide the sacred smoke over the bride and groom well. At the end, when the couple’s wrists are tied with the blessing strings, they become husband and wife who belong to each other until the old age.
In the traditional concept, the Cambodia Wedding is colorful and meaningful, via the rituals of hair cutting, blessing, and tying cotton threads around their wrists. Especially, it’s known that the Khmer bride and groom wear the colorful garments adorned with the eye-catching jewelry. Nowadays, due to the Western influences, some Khmer girls and boys of the urban areas prefer wearing the formal vests and wedding dresses, and this is acceptable to the elders. In the common belief, the Khmer women of the rural regions should get married prior to the age of 25, and with the matchmaker’s assistance.
Along the discovery of the beautiful kingdom, you are likely to see the Khmer wedding spectacles as well as some other cultural events and holiday in Cambodia. Luckily, photography is welcomed, and the foreigners might even find the good seats during the event to observe what is going on happily there. As always, the Cambodian beer is served while dancing is performed according to the joyful songs.
Provided that you are lucky to be the traditional Cambodian wedding’s guests, know that the average cash gift to put in the envelope is about USD$20 – $30. There might be a person being in charge of writing down the guests’ names and the value of their cash gift. This action is to ensure that the hosts will know the amount given to them so that when you invite them to your wedding, they will give back the appropriate congratulation cash.
Explore Cambodia Culture during Your Cambodia Travel
Culture is one of the most beautiful traits to feel and experience in a new destination, and the Cambodia Tours of yours are full of the cultural opportunities. Due to your arrival time to the country, join some interesting festivals like Bon Om Touk (including Water Festival, Moon Festival, and Boat Racing in November 02, 03, 04), Chol Chnam Thmay (the Khmer Traditional New Year Festival on April 13-15), Royal Ploughing Day (May 14), etc.
Traveling on the events of the holiday in Cambodia, you get the real cultural experiences for the unique, distinct, and memorable vacation. Not only do Cambodia have the internationally admirable Angkor Wat, but this country also owns the rich resources of culture, cuisine, and history for the foreign guests to discover. The cultural observation and participation reinforce your interest in the kingdom so that each time you travel to Cambodia, you get the new and different experiences. Besides the celebrated Angkor Wat, it is the Khmer art and culture that can appeal to the tourists worldwide, and the Khmer wedding is the absolutely beautiful event to enjoy.