Traditional Thai Wedding Explanation
The traditions of a Thai wedding ceremony vary depending on the region the wedding is taking place in. In most cases, the Thai wedding ceremony is non-religious even though monks may be involved.
Indeed, no vow is announced but the ceremony has a strong symbolic aspect insuring a good start for the newlyweds. To insure happiness and prosperity, the date and time of the ceremony must be chosen carefully.
Long Drum Parade
The procession is a very joyful moment and is accompanied by musicians who play long traditional trombones while dancing on the way to the bride’s location. Once the parade arrives at the bride’s location, the way is generally closed by the symbolic doors.
To prove that the groom is able to take a good care of his spouse, he must pass through these symbolic gates before reaching the bride’s parents.
Traditionally, the gates are closed by a chain of gold or silver held by two young ladies who are close to the bride. During our parade we will have close friends and family members. To open each gate, the groom must give them a key in the form of money in an envelope. The gate guardians may make it even more difficult to pass through by demanding more money. A number of the gates may vary depending on one region to another, but in general there are at least two gates: the golden gate (Pratoo Thong) and the silver gate (Pratoo Ngeurn).
Giving is something very important for the Buddhists and especially for special occasions like weddings. Inviting monks to the ceremony assures spiritual credit to the young couple thanks to the donations given to the monks. For Buddhists in Thailand, it is widely accepted that donations (of money, food…) to a local temple will assure eternal love.
Sometimes, the couple may simply go to a temple but they may also invite monks in odd number (3,5,7 or 9) to come to the wedding ceremony.
The Buddhist ceremony commences very early (generally between 05:00 and 07:00). The monks pray while a lit candle is placed above a bowl of holy water. This water will later be used by the senior monk to bless the couple and the attended guests with a small branch. After praying, the couple will offer a meal to the monks before leaving the hall to allow the monks to have their meal. No one is allowed to eat until the monks have finished their meal.
After the eating, the monks will pray again and the senior monk blesses the couple with the holy water and uses a white powder stick to make three dots on the groom’s forehead before to taking the groom’s hand to make the same dots on the bride’s forehead (“Jerm”).
Then, the monks go back to the temple. Depending on the arrangement of the wedding, generally the groom’s parade will start afterwards.
The Water Blessing
The next step of the Thai wedding ceremony shall be proceeded either by the parents of the groom or the bride.
The newlyweds shall be sitting next to each other with the groom on the right facing either North or East. Then, the parents of the bride and groom shall then place the “Circles of Luck (Saii Monkol)”, made with white thread in a form of two circles linked by think thread, which was blessed by monks during the monk blessing ceremony earlier, on the heads of the newlyweds and flower garlands around the necks of the couple.
Saii Monkol represents that from now on the destiny of couple is bonded while their individual spirit is maintained.
Afterwards, the parents of the bride and groom shall use a shell (Sang in Thai) to pour the scented flower-garnished holy water (Rod Nam in Thai) onto the hands of the groom starting from a wrist towards the tips of his hands – and then the bride while blessing them. The guests shall then proceed to bless the wedded couple and pour the water onto their hands individually.