How to “Save the Date” Cambodian Style
Similar to most neighboring countries, Cambodian custom dictates certain dates when weddings can take place. According to tradition, weddings can only be held during months with thirty days. In those months there are only seven days that are esteemed as “good dates.” Days on which couples should not celebrate their weddings are birthdays, religious holidays or during the Khmer New Year.
Nowadays, wedding season falls from October until March. Celebrating during the rainy (or green) season is avoided mainly because the unpredictable weather makes it difficult to plan the wedding reception, procession and other ceremonies. Another reason is that many local people are farmers and therefore busy in their fields during these months.
Once a date is decided – an auspicious day that is believed to bring luck and harmony for the couple – the wedding traditions begin with a set of ceremonies held in a specific order. Many of these ceremonies are related to mythical stories.
If travelers have the good fortune to be invited to a Khmer wedding, they will be expected to wear smart dress and get ready for some serious partying. After the various steps of the traditional ceremony conclude, the reception and fun celebrations take over with wedding guests seated at large circular tables and served a variety of delicious Cambodian food.
The wealth of the couple getting married dictates if the wedding guests will be drinking Angkor Beer or Black label whisky. As the party winds down and the happy guests depart, it is customary to put some money in an envelope (provided with the wedding invitation months earlier), to leave with the host family to help cover the costs of the party.
Guests that travel to Cambodia from now until March can have the opportunity to witness first hand the merrymaking and ceremonial customs of a traditional Cambodian wedding.
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Photo by Craige Moore