- Country: Cambodia
- Region: Siem Reap
- City: Siem Reap
A Khmer wedding symbolizes the beautiful legend of the origin of Cambodia and parallels the marriage of the first Khmer prince, Preah Thong, to the Naga princess, Neang Neak. The prince was a foreigner exiled from his homeland and during his travels encountered and fell in love with the Naga princess. As a marriage gift, the father of the Naga princess swallowed a part of the ocean, and thus formed the land of Cambodia.
A traditional Khmer wedding is one of the most joyous occasions for a Khmer family and typically lasts from three days to an entire week. It is a grand affair, full of color and festivity that is steep in tradition. Family, friends, and other members of the community come together to share in the celebration. Musicians play traditional instruments throughout the day. The bride and groom are dressed as royalty, with the bride changing her outfit several times during the ceremony . If the wedding were a weeklong affair, she could declare the color of her dress each day and the guests would dress only in that color.
Unlike most Western weddings, guests are usually highly animated during the ceremonies, with elders typically explaining the significance of the various customs to the younger generation. Please feel free to turn to a neighbor if you should have questions or comments about what is occurring. You may also stand up and leave the room if you need to stretch your legs since the wedding is done sitting on the floor. Guests freely move in and out and during the ceremony, which is not considered rude.
Presentation of Dowry
Cambodian weddings begin with the groom and his family traveling to the bride's home bearing gifts to the bride's family as a dowry. Family members and friends are introduced and wedding rings exchanged. Three traditional songs accompany the presentation of dowry:
Neay Pream Hae Kaun Komlawh (Arrival of the Groom): A song telling the story of the groom and his family's journey to the bride's house bearing meats, fruits, pastries, drinks, and desserts of every variety to be presented on the wedding day.
Chambak Rouy (Presenting the Dowry): A dialogue between the matchmakers, parents, relatives, and friends of the bride and groom in which the groom's family and friends officially present the dowry gifts to the bride's family.
Pak Paeuk Pisa Sla (inviting the Elders to chew betel nut): Presentation of the betel nut to the bride and groom's elders. In turn, parents of both the bride and groom ask for blessings and well-wishes for their children.
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