The Essential Sri Lankan Wedding Guide: The Engagement and Pre-Wedding Traditions

2015 Jul 14 - by dulhan
Despite the modernity of our age, arranged marriages are still a large part of Sri Lankan culture.  This makes the engagement, the formal meeting of the two families, extremely crucial.

Photo via Komal & Arvind's Engagement

Sri Lankan Wedding: Introduction

Sri Lankan Wedding Engagement and Pre-Wedding Traditions - You're here!

Sri Lankan Wedding Traditions

Sri Lankan Bridal Attire and Jewelry

Sri Lankan Groom’s Attire

Sri Lankan Wedding Food and Desserts

The formal wedding engagement is not exactly spelled out in the Sinhalese Buddhist tradition.  Parents are often the main planners of the wedding but nowadays with more modern traditions taking hold, old traditions have given way to new Western ones.

In some cases, Buddhist couples borrow from Hindu Tamil tradition and hold a semi-religious event with a Buddhist priest chanting prayers where the main event is choosing a wedding date.  The formal date and time of the wedding, the Nekatha, is pre-determined by the dates and times of the couple's birth.

Photo via Komal & Arvind's Engagement

Buddhist tradition generally calls for a more reserved affair during which the couple meets with their parents to maybe exchange gifts and to formally select a date for the wedding ceremony.  How this is done, with fancy outfits or with day clothes, depends on the couple and their family traditions.

While some communities still require a formal religious event for the engagement, modern Sri Lankan couples largely opt for Western-style engagement parties. Should the families choose to have a party, it can be a massive affair: A typical Buddhist Sinhalese engagement party will feature the intermixing of both families, dancing with traditional and pop songs, and food.  They can run late into the night.

That's engagements done, on to the wedding festivities!