January 01, 2009

Where apsaras dance....

Khmer weddings enact Cambodia's greatest legend. The first Khmer prince, Preah Thong, fell in love with the Naga Princess, Neang Neak. As a marriage gift, the father of the Naga Princess swallowed part of the ocean and forms the land of Cambodia.

The wedding can last anywhere from 3-7 days and is a sensory experience-- vibrant colors and sounds, the best foods, community involvement-- rich with symbolism and traditions:

Hai Goan Gomloh - The groom's processional, to the bride's house, accompanied by family and friends, music and gifts
Sien Doan Taa - Call to Ancestors, to include those important to the lives of the couple in their joyous union
Soat Mun - Blessings from the Monks
Gaat Sah - Cleansing Ceremony, where representatives of the deities cleanse the couple spiritually and symbolically to prepare and bless them for their new future together
Bang Chhat Madaiy - Honoring of the Parents, in which the couple perform symbolic gestures indicating their commitment to their parents
Bongvul Pbopul - Passing of Blessings, in which married couples are asked to surround the bride and groom to impart their blessings
Sompeas Ptem - Knot Tying Ceremony, in which guests tie knots around the wrists of the bride and groom, symbolising their wishes for the bride and groom

A more complete description of Khmer weddings can be found at the Khmer Institute.

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