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Buddhist wedding rituals

Satkaar.com is pleased to provide an insight to these traditions...

These traditional ceremonies and are an integral part of the Buddhist traditions. A typical Buddhist wedding is comprises of two components, Buddhist and Non-Buddhist components. The Buddhist component includes the recitation of prayers and the offering of food and other gifts to monks and images of the Buddha. The non-Buddhist component is rooted in folk traditions, followed by the couple’s family.

Earlier it was a rare sight to see Buddhist monks to be present at the actual marriage ceremony. Since they were required to be present at funerals, their presence at a marriage was not considered good. Buddhist weddings are usually conducted in a temple. These days Buddhist monks are present at the ceremony but depart for lunch immediately after the ceremony.

Rituals and Customs
The couple first bows down in front of the Buddha. They then recite Buddhist prayers & chants and light incense and candles before the image of the Buddha. The parents of the couple then place a loop of string on their heads to basically connect them. Once they are connected the couple will make offerings of food, flowers, and medicine to the monks present. Cash gifts put in a temple may also be made to the temple.

The priests then place a thread on the heads of the present monks. Recitations in Pali are made to invoke blessings and good wishes for the couple. The string is connected to a container that will be sanctified for the ceremony. Merit is supposed to travel through the string and touch the water. Buddhist weddings have elaborate procedures keeping in view with Buddhist tenets.

Special Features
A red paste is created and a small portion is applied to the forehead of the bride and the bridegroom. This is similar to what is done at Hindu weddings. The bride’s mark is done with the butt of a candle keeping in with the tradition of not touching women. Buddhist weddings in recent times have cut down on the elaborate ceremonies involved. Monks also have a greater role as compared to earlier times when they were forbidden. The fusion of modernity and scientific knowledge have made their influence on Buddhist weddings too.

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