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Buddhist Wedding

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Introduction of Buddhist Wedding

Buddhist marriage is very simple and does not involve any complex ritual. The most pleasant thing about the Buddhist weddings is that they are based more on faith and less on religion. A typical wedding takes place in two parts, one is Buddhist component and the other is non-Buddhist component. The Buddhist component involves offering prayers along with gifts to the monks and Buddha image. The non-Buddhist component engulfs traditional practices followed by the family of the couple.

A Buddhist wedding, just like their culture, is a simple affair; there are no mandatory rules and regulations. The couple gets married in a Buddhist temple, licensed as a legal marriage venue.

 

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Pre Wedding Rituals

The first practice amongst Buddhists is horoscope matching. It is deemed quite important and is practiced with ardor. After matching the horoscopes of the prospective bride and groom, the boy's family in consultation with the lama decides an auspicious date for putting the proposal of the wedding. The next ceremony is the Chessian Betrothal ceremony, wherein the maternal uncle of the bride is seated on a raised platform. The priest recites prayers and gives 'madyan', a holy drink to everybody. This is followed by fixing of the wedding date in consultation with the astrologer.

 

Rituals before the Buddhist Wedding

Khachang

When the prospective bride and groom are selected by the Khachang method, taking the help of a silk scarf or Khada, the meeting between the two families is finalised. Horoscopes are matched by the two families and the date of engagement is fixed. As per the Buddhist wedding traditions, the boy gifts something to the girl and this could be anything as per the capability of the boy or his family. During this occasion, the attire of the bride and groom is also decided.

 

Nangchang

Formal engagement ceremony is known as Nangchang, which is presided over by a Rimpochhe or Lama. There is a kind of get together between the boy’s and girl’s families, where important roles are played by the uncles, cousins, and other relatives. Food items are also brought in such occasions. Tsang, chicken and meat is given to the girl’s mother, uncles, brothers and sisters. Again, the kikas or horoscopes are matched and a date for the marriage is finalised. As the engagement is over, the couple remains together in the bride’s or groom’s house.

 

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Wedding Rituals

The wedding ceremony usually takes place in a temple. Firstly, both the bride and the groom bow in front of Buddha image. After this, they recite certain prayers and chants and light incense sticks and candles in front of the image. Then the parents of the couple put a loop of strings on their heads to connect them. After this, the couple makes offering to the monks such as flowers, food, sweets and medicines. At times, token money is also given to the temple.

The priest then places a thread on the heads of the monks. Recitations in Pali language are made to evoke blessings for the newlywed couple. The string is connected to a container that is sanctified after the ceremony. Also, a red paste is applied on the foreheads of the bride and the groom. Though Buddhist weddings are not very formal but their form has changed significantly. Initially monks did not attend the weddings as they are present during the funeral rites. Nowadays, the role of the monks in weddings has become quite profound.

 

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