Photography: Alison Mayfield Photography Studio
We have been learning about weddings from the world, their different customs, traditions and much more. This time, we will talk about Buddhist weddings. When we think on a Buddhist wedding, we might imagine the bride with a super colorful wedding dress and a priest that looks like Dalai Lama. However, our perception and believes of other culture weddings are usually based on what we have seen on movies or TV shows and the reality is nothing similar to that.
When discussing marriage in the Buddhist religion, it is important to take into account that they do not have a specific wedding ritual or ceremony because they do not consider marriage a religious event; therefore, when they celebrate a wedding, what they do is the called couple’s blessing. Even if they take different traditions and symbols from other religion weddings, the ceremony is not as stiff as a Muslim or catholic wedding.
Buddhists give a great deal of importance to astrology, that’s why everything related to commitment and weddings is dictated by the monks who, beforehand, prepare and interpret the couple’s astrological chart. Based on those, they determine different aspects such as the time and date of the wedding.
They marry in front of an altar that has the Buddha. It is usually decorated with flowers and other elements chosen by the couple. Friends and family will be behind the couple and the Buddhist monk will usually be standing higher than the rest of the people.
During the wedding ceremony, the couple must be together in a posture known as the Wai, which is gesture of respect, before receiving the Buddhist monk’s blessing. Then, the monks will start the ceremony with a sermon and once he finishes sharing his thoughts, he will lead the vow interchange which is a vital part of a Buddhist wedding.
Once done, to express their gratitude, the couple offers food to the monks and Buddha and the monks will chant the wedding prayer and then will eat. Only after they finish eating, the senior monk will bless the couple and all the guests with holy water.
The celebration after the wedding ceremony is a traditional wedding party with food, music and dancing. The type of food will depend on the country where the couple is from but it usually includes pork, beef, rice and other traditional dishes.