Weddings are the most important social events in the lives of young people. Men usually get married between the ages of nineteen and twenty-four and women between the ages of sixteen and twenty-two. Most families want their children to be married by the age of twenty-five, otherwise other people might wonder why the family is unable to find people willing to marry their children!!
There are traditional ways in which a family should decide if a partner is suitable or not. Each family appoints a representative to investigate the other family who makes sure that the other family is honest and, hopefully, wealthy. Once the two families agree to the wedding, they exchange gifts of plants and food and then they consult an astrologer who chooses a lucky date for the ceremony.
The wedding ceremony takes place at the bride's house. The bride and groom exchange gifts and rings. Their wrists are tied together with red thread that has been soaked in holy water, while that the following song is sung: "We tie, we tie three strings to each wrist of our children. We wish for true happiness and success to this couple, who will always be together like wet grass seeds. We tie your left wrist to make you remember your parents. We tie your right wrist to make you carry on the family lineage and traditions." A Buddhist priest delivers a sermon, and married guests pass around a candle to bless the new couple. The colourful wedding ends with a grand feast. People eat fruit, meat, and small round cakes filled with rice or coconut. Musicians play traditional instruments like the ones seen in this unit's figurine collection.
After the wedding, the couple and their entourage also go to nearby parks or the palace rounds on the third day. Here, the newly wedded couple walk around in their finest clothes while the video camera rolls and the cameras click away.
The colourful Cambodian wedding ceremony steeped in tradition is an interesting yet seemingly exhausting experience. For most Cambodians, such nuptials represent more than a nod to the traditions of the past. Each marriage here in Cambodia is a moral victory, and another hope for the future.