Sri Lankan wedding foreign couples can have a Civil wedding,
Christian wedding, Buddhist wedding, Hindu wedding or Muslim
wedding. Traditional is the Sri Lankan Poruwa ceremony. Most couples
getting married in Sri Lanka have a Poruwa ceremony either after
their religious ceremony as a blessing or combined into a civil
ceremony. The stages of the entire traditional marriage Poruwa
Buddhist ceremony in Sri Lanka, described below, takes about 45
ceremony is a traditional Sri Lankan wedding ceremony with Buddhist
cultural influences. The ceremony takes place on a "Poruwa", a
beautifully decorated, traditional wooden platform. The ceremony
involves a series of rituals performed by the bride and groom, and
Poruwa ceremony appears to have existed in Sri Lanka before the
introduction of Buddhism in the 3rd Century B.C. The Poruwa ceremony
was a valid custom as a registered marriage until the British
introduced the registration of marriages by Law in 1870. Today's
Poruwa ceremony has been influenced by both upcountry and low
country customs of Sri Lanka.
and his relatives assemble on the left of the Poruwa and the bride's
family gathers at the right. The bride and groom enter the Poruwa
leading with the right foot first. They greet each other with palms
held together in the traditional manner. The ceremony officiant then
presents betel leaves to the couple which they accept and hand back
to him to be placed on the Poruwa.
bride's father places the right hand of the bride on that of the
groom as a symbolic gesture of handing over the bride to the groom.
The groom's brother hands over a tray with seven sheaves of betel
leaves with a coin placed in each.
holds the tray while the bride takes one leaf at a time and drops it
on the Poruwa. The groom then repeats this process. The groom's
brother hands a gold necklace to the groom who in turn places it on
the bride's neck. The maternal uncle enters the Poruwa and ties the
small fingers of the bride and groom with a single gold thread (to
symbolize unity) and then pours water over the fingers.
will then bless the marriage with a traditional chant (Jayamangala
Gatha). The groom presents to his bride a white cloth which in turn
is presented to the bride's mother. This is an expression of the
groom's gratitude to his mother-in-law.
bride's mother will then present a plate of milk rice specially
cooked for the occasion to the bride who feeds a piece to the groom
The groom then feeds the bride. As the newly married couple steps
down from the Poruwa, the groom's family member breaks a fresh
coconut in two.
common after the wedding ceremony for the couple to enjoy an