In Thailand, customs and habits are very different from ours. Rituals have been used throughout the centuries to bring couples together without taking vows. Although Buddhist monks participate in the ceremony, the marriage is not religious and always takes place according to a particular process, faithful to Thai traditions.
Discover the different stages of an original wedding through the rites offered throughout a typical day, you will realize that here the choice of the wedding dress or the wedding decoration are not the main priorities of Thai couples. .
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The most shy of us would love this tradition that involves the participation of a close friend to make our request. Indeed, it is the groom’s best friend who is entrusted with the delicate task of proposing marriage. The latter will have to go to the house of the bride’s parents to ask the father for the hand of his daughter for his friend. At the same time, he will ask you for the amount of the dowry.
The date of the festivities will be chosen with the help of an astrologer who will designate the most suitable day for the union based on the position of the stars.
The amount of the dowry
Once paid to the bride’s parents, the dowry paid by the future son-in-law is a guarantee of security, guaranteeing his ability to maintain it. Today, the newlyweds keep this dowry and present it to all the guests on a tray full of entries.
The tribute to the ancestors
It is at dawn, with the arrival of the monks to the houses of the spouses, when the ceremony begins. Using a lighted candle placed in holy water, they recite prayers and sing praises to bless the couple. A white cord placed respectively on their heads by the parents connects the bride and groom and also connects them with holy water, allowing the ruling monk to sanctify the union and pass on alms to the dead.
A meal is offered to the monks, but it is only when they have finished that the rest of the family can begin preparing the dishes. These offerings to Buddhist monks are made to offer “merit” to the couple (here the idea of merit refers to eternal love). Animals are sometimes released, as is often the case with birds, to strengthen the relationship between husband and wife.
The Khan Maak
It is the procession that takes the groom with his dowry to the home of his future wife’s parents. Accompanied by troubadours to traditional music, he follows a path in which there are different symbolic stages that he will have to go through.
The gate ceremony
When the groom arrives at his in-laws’ house, he must go through two doors: one of silver and the other of gold. In front of each door, the women (often relatives of the bride) block the passage of the groom, usually with garlands of jasmine. If you want to access the homes of the in-laws, you will have to go through both doors with an envelope containing a sum of money addressed to the women of the family.
The place of the guests
Usually wedding invitations are issued orally, but when wedding invitations are sent in Thailand, no one answers them and everyone can go with whoever they want! These are often large weddings with a large number of guests (up to 400). They usually offer 1000 baht in an envelope with their name written on it, and then pass it on to the spouses at the beginning of the ceremony to wish them a good start. Actually, this donation is a contribution towards the expenses of the wedding.
The ritual of the white threads
On a pedestal, with their hands joined, the bride and groom are blessed by the guests who wet their hands. They end up tying their wrists with a white thread to wish them happiness and abundance. In the past, spouses had to stay together for 3 days to ensure that they had a happy union.
It has similarities with the reception found in the West: banquet, original wedding menu, wedding entertainment such as karaoke that is still fashionable in Thailand, wedding cake…. It usually takes place in a hotel or restaurant, as at our French weddings, the couple’s relatives talk about a classic wedding speech and then begin the evening dance during which the festivities continue until around midnight.
As you have just discovered, a Thai wedding represents a certain financial investment but also an important mobilization of families and their guests to perform all the rituals. These traditions are carried out in order to bring good luck to the couple and to pay tribute to the ancestors according to the rules of the art.