• Ankitha Prakash

The Sri Lankan Wedding: Matara, Sri Lanka, 2016

📍 Matara, Sri Lanka

It was about seven in the morning when we reached this beautiful city with a scenic beach in Matara, Sri Lanka (about 3 hours journey from Colombo city). The main purpose to land here was to attend a friend’s WEDDING CEREMONY! I was more than excited, as I was going to see a traditional Poruwa Ceremony (main part of Sinhalese Wedding Ceremony) for the first time ever. Though the celebration party lasted for about 6 hours, the traditional wedding ceremony took around 45 minutes with a series of rituals performed by the bride and groom, and their families. I was totally unaware of the events I was going to experience! Let’s begin the ride!

Poruwa Ceremony

The Poruwa

The traditional Sinhalese wedding ceremony, also called as the Poruwa ceremony was named after a beautifully decorated, traditional wooden platform called “Poruwa”. All the rituals are performed on this platform with the bride and groom stepping on it, leading their right foot first. Before stepping on this, the entry of the bride and groom with the Kandyan dancers and drummers leading them towards the Poruwa was something unmissable.

Kandyan dancers and drummers welcoming the Bride
Kandyan dancers and drummers welcoming the Groom

The joy and excitement that a wedding is happening was clearly seen on all the faces present there.

The bride was wearing the traditional classic nivi drape (Indian style) saree, one of the typical Sinhalese wedding saree and she was truly a sight to behold.

The traditional classic nivi drape (Indian style) saree

The wedding glow and the happiness on her face that she is going to wed the man of her life was immensely seen and trust me she was looking the most beautiful ever!

The bride and groom greeting each other

The bride and groom proceed to the Poruwa and greet each other with the palms held together in the traditional manner. The Shilpadhipathi (master of ceremonies or the officiant) then handed them some betel leaves, which they accepted and returned which were then placed on the Poruwa. Also, both the bride and groom are offered some sheaves of betel leaves (from the groom’s side) with a coin placed on each. The bride takes a leaf at a time and places it on the Poruwa while the groom holds them (the same is repeated with bride holding and groom placing them).

The bride and groom are offered some sheaves of betel leaves

Then, the groom is handed with a gold necklace and a beautiful saree which he presents to the bride!

The officiant then tied the small fingers of the bride and groom with a single gold thread that symbolizes unity and the maternal side of the family then pours water on their tied fingers.

The bride and groom then step down of the Poruwa, where all their family members and themselves hold a single thread and pray for their togetherness for a lifetime! Also, the bride’s family member breaks a fresh coconut. Then they are presented with a rice cake, which they feed each other.

Also, both the bride and groom light up some candles to signify glory in their lives from now on and pour some milk into the cups to portray fulfillment.

When asked the bride, her feeling, she said she was THIS BIG HAPPY!

Apart the ceremony, another best part for me was having the Sri Lankan food served. What a feast! The breakfast included milk rice and some traditional sweets; for lunch it was a well-prepared meal table including almost all the famous dishes; evening the guests were presented with a coffee table and of course everyone had a welcome drink before all this. Yes, I know, that’s a lot of food. And, just after the lunch a special cake was given to everyone, which was a small piece of cake wrapped with colorful papers.

After all the food, it was now time to burn some calories and everyone got to the dance floor, including the “Happily Married Couple’.

Happily Married!!!

Another important part of the wedding was the family members giving the couple some advices on how to maintain their married life and I am sure this helps them as “Experience Counts”.

To attend such a wedding, remains as one of the memorable moments!

The next destination was to the most popular hill station in Sri Lanka, Ella (Next Blog Post)!