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What Happens During a Traditional Buddhist Wedding Ceremony ?

What Happens During a Traditional Buddhist Wedding Ceremony ?

What Happens During a Traditional Buddhist Wedding Ceremony ?

Buddhist wedding traditions

Dissimilar to other marriage traditions, Buddhist wedding ceremonies are quite simplistic in nature. They are pleasant and serene in their own way.  A Buddhist wedding ceremony is primarily based on faith. It is less reliant upon any religion or orthodox.  The Buddhist components tend to involve prayer offerings, gift exchange, and few traditional rituals.

The liberal Buddhist marriage is based upon mutual concerns instead of following rigid customs. Buddhism never compels any entity to get forcefully married. Neither, it encourages anyone to remain bachelor through his/her life. Nowhere has it been mentioned that Buddhist should produce more children subsequent to marriages.

The Buddhist priests execute the ceremonials by bestowing their blessing upon them. Besides, initiating pious rituals, the Buddhist couple also fulfills legal formalities by getting their marriages legally registered. The Buddhist monks do not perform any holy services on behalf of the couple. From the point of Buddhism, their wedding ceremonies are neither holy nor unholy in nature.


The match making

The marriage is fixed only after taking the girl and the boy into confidence. The wedding proposal can be initiated by either of the families. The proposal is initiated by sending one of the family friends to the girl`s or boy`s home. The visitor carries a wine bottle and a “khaddar”, white silk scarf. The main role of the messenger is to bring the consent of marriage from the other end.  

Khachang; the wedding planning

The match making is done in accordance to the Buddhist horoscope. After the horoscopes of the girl and the boy are matched, Lama finds out the most auspicious date of marriage. Soon after the date has been fixed, Chessian betrothal ritual take place in which the maternal uncle of the bride is made to sit on a raised platform. The priest enchants holy mantras and distributes “madyan”, a pious drink to everyone who is participating in this ceremonial. Wedding invitation wording and card distribution takes place.  All the wedding rituals are generally decided to take place within the temple walls in consultation with an astrologer.

The Wedding dresses

The bride wears a heavy brocade dress called Bhaku on her wedding day. The full-length dress symbolizes sarong. The bride has to wear “Hanju”, a full sleeved blouse which is made up of silk. She can also choose to wear an additional scarf or a coat along with some heavy jewelry. Generally, khau which is a usual Buddhist jewelry is worn by the brides.  Khau comprises of precious and semi-precious stones such a pearl, turquoise, coral etc. the jewelry pieces are worn over the head, arms, waist, and neck. Most of the jewelry is gold plated. The earlier brides also used to wear special hats and shoes which are no more in fashion.

The groom also wears Bhaku, a full sleeved dress. The Bhaku gives a graceful appearance to the groom as it is made out of brocade and is worn along with a waistcoat. The boy has to wear a cap that is made up of brocade in combination with a sash that is tied around his waist.


Typical Buddhist rituals


Nanchang includes the engagement of the wedding couple on a due date. Nanchang is presided by Rinpoche or the lama. The maternal uncles of both the sides play a crucial role in the entire ritual. The guests bring varied kinds of meat and Tsang to the girl`s house. The specially gift rice and chicken to the mother of the bride that acts as a token of gratitude for breastfeeding the girl.

The wedding day rituals

  • The couple has to sit in front of the Buddha statue along with all the Wedding decorations, flower and candle arrangements.  The couple and the guests together recite prayers in Pali or English.
  • The couple light incense and candles along with offering flowers to the Buddha image.
  • Both of them have to take vow; “vow towards the husband, wife and in-laws”
  • At the end, the wedding is concluded with a Mangal sutra being tied around the bride`s neck.
  • The monk has to bless the wedded couple so that they have a peaceful and happy life ahead

After the marriage takes place, dispersal from the Wedding venues takes place.  If the girl wants to leave her maiden`s home then she can choose to live with her husband separately. The couple can also decide to stay with the bride`s family after getting married.

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