Sri Lanka avaSri Lankan weddings are usually big, bright, and pompous, with many guests and the blindingly ornate bride and groom’s outfits. Although, the type of wedding ceremony depends on the ethnic origin and religious beliefs of the couple. The most common and typical wedding traditions and rituals in Sri Lanka are Buddhist Sinhalese, so we’ll talk about the so-called Poruwa siritha or Poruwa ceremony in this post.

The traditional Sinhala Buddhist marriage ceremony is known as the “Poruwa siritha” or “Poruwa ceremony”. It is a spectacular but comparatively reserved (because Asian cultures are modest) marriage ceremony.

There are several wedding rituals performed practically at every Sinhala Buddhist wedding.

 

Sri Lankan wedding ceremony traditions and rituals
Sri Lankan bride and two bridesmaids in lovely traditional sarees

 

Pirith nool – wedding unity ritual

During this ritual, the pirith nool or sacred thread is tied around the bride and groom’s pinkies. It is symbolic uniting the two people. And it’s performed by the Master of Ceremonies. He ties the couple’s fingers together with a gold or white string, then pours holy water on these joined hands so that the water lands on soil put on an ornate tray. In Buddhism, earth and water are two sacred elements, so they should witness the unity of the bride and groom. The wedding ritual with a pirith nool is very popular in Sri Lanka.


Presents for the bride’s mother

This is also an obligatory Sri Lankan marriage ritual. The groom shows his gratitude and respect for the bride’s mother by presenting her with a lovely and often intricately woven white cloth. He gives it to his bride, who transfers the fabric to her mother. Sometimes, the groom’s family also adds a sari as a gift to the groom’s new mother-in-law. At the same time, the groom promises the bride’s parents to take good care of his wife for the rest of their life together.

 

Sri Lankan wedding ceremony traditions and rituals
Sri Lankan grooms often wear traditional attire for the wedding. Like these costumes

 

Sweet milk rice for the couple

Sweets are a common part of traditional weddings around the world. Couples eat local pastry, ceremonial bread, delicious traditional sweets, etc. In Sri Lanka, the main and most symbolic dessert is milk rice called “kiribath”. The bride’s mother feeds both the bride and the groom with kiribath and the groom’s mother gives them each a sip of milk. After that, the couple feeds each other with a bit of sweet milk rice.


Brass oil lamp lighting

At the end of the Poruwa siritha, the bride and groom light a brass oil lamp together. With this ritual, they promise to keep the burning of their love forever. This is the last wedding ceremony ritual, after which the feast begins.

 

Sri Lankan grooms often wear traditional attire for the wedding. Like these costumes
Bride and groom from Sri Lanka. Grooms often dress in classic suits and brides in sari

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