Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wedding culture in Thailand

Thailand weddings vary differently in different part of Thailand. Although the rituals and traditions are kept, there are some that performs these rituals differently that it should be. Monks are usually a big part of Buddhist wedding but the presence of a Monk in a wedding is often deemed as a bad omen but consultation to a monk for inauspicious dates is necessary since the couple believe in the importance of dates and its significance to the future of the union.

A couple will consult a monk or astrologers for auspicious date and time for the wedding to make sure that the stars will align with their good faith and a stable union. This is very important for couple that wishes to last longer. If they are not compatible, unions are usually broken in belief that the partnership wouldn’t last.
Engagement ceremonies are in Thailand is quite different compared to other countries. Engagement in Thailand is similar in fashion but some couple celebrates their engagement the same day as the wedding. It can be seen as something weird, but most couples are particular to saving money thus the act of celebrating both parties at the same day. Engagements are often done with a monks blessing and should be held during an auspicious time and date as well. Invitations are also important for these celebrations. Verbal and written invitations are often used but a couple s not required to distribute written invites since verbal distribution are also done and suitable.

Paying homage and making merit is also an important ritual in Thailand. When a coupe is paying homage to their ancestors, monks are usually present for the prayers and the blessing. Same thing happens during making merit. Making merit is just paying or providing a gift to the monk or a local wat (temple) as a form of gratitude and to ask for guidance and support for a long lasting marriage between the unions of the couple. Sometimes, the groom will provide homage or a donation to a local wat using the bride’s family name as a show of respect for both her wife to be and her family.

Khan Maak procession is also another tradition that is done in Thailand. During Khan Maak, the groom will ask for the dowry that the parents will ask for their daughter and the groom’s family and friends will then provide these gifts through a procession from their house to the house of the bride but since times are changing, there are various version of a Khan Maak procession. This is a fun and entertaining way to pay patronage as well as respect for tradition and for the bride and her family. Upon arriving at the house, another ritual is done and this is called a door ceremony. What is done is that the groom will enter various gates, the number of gates differs from each region in Thailand, but it is usually two doors – one gold and silver. This is guarded by female members of the family and the groom will have to open the gate with the use of a key in the form of money. Depending on the key, the doors are opened for the groom to enter.

On the wedding day, an elder or  a respected person In the community will perform a Sia Monkhon ritual wherein the elder will link he head of the couple through the use of a thread symbolizing that their union will continue and linked through the two circle. Brides wear a traditional outfit for the wedding unlike the usual white wedding gown or cheap wedding dresses that are worn in Western countries while the groom will wear a similar outfit that will complement the bride. Next to this a white thread ceremony is done together with a Sai Sin then followed by an evening party or a wedding reception.

After that is the preparation of the bed. This is done with the couple going to their bedroom awaited by an old couple. This symbolizes that the old couple is the perfect example of a long lasting relation and they impart their knowledge to the couple as well. Together with the old couple, coin and rice is laid in the bed for three days as a sign of good luck and peace in the union.

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