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Marriage Rituals

Whether you are on transit or on a month long vacation in Sri Lanka, if you have the opportunity to be present at a traditional wedding, it ought not to be missed. A traditional Sinhalese wedding is one of the most spectacular ceremonies in Sri Lankan culture.

Dating in the Traditional Sri Lankan Marriage Scene

According to traditional Sri Lankan customs parents find partners for their marriageable sons and daughters. Some of the factors taken into consideration include social class, level of education, caste, timing of one’s birth, employment background, and family background. The initial meeting of the prospective partners is carried out by the parents and not by the children. If the parents find that the son or daughter is a possible match then the two young people meet each other on a different date.

The Astrologer - The astrologer is consulted to determine the best day, time, and hour to hold the wedding ceremony.  By consulting one’s timing at birth the astrologer can predict whether or not the prospective partner balances the planetary alignments of the other person.

The Poruwa Ceremony - Central to a Sinhala wedding is an event known as the Poruwa ceremony. The Poruwa is the altar where the couple stands during the wedding ceremony. It is a raised wooden platform. The Poruwa faces the auspicious direction specified by the astrologer. On the floor of the Poruwa is a mat, and on it certain kinds of grains, including unhusked paddy, unhusked rice, and millet. Under the canopy that serves as its roof are hung several varieties of ceremonial leaves including betel, mango, banyan, woodapple, and margosa (Kohomba).

Firstly, the couple will step on the Poruwa at an auspicious moment specified by the astrologer. In fact, modern weddings cards invariable carry this information in a phrase such as “Poruwa ceremony at 9.32 am” implying that it is the most crucial moment of the ceremony.

One of the most important rites is the tying of the little fingers of the right hands of the couple with a fine thread. This act of tying symbolizes marriage. After tying the two little fingers the priest will pour water from a golden pitcher into their hands.