Wednesday, December 7, 2016

My First Poruwa Ceremony

               My first Poruwa Ceremony

This weekend has been one of my absolute favorites! My friend Ranjani was having her wedding and invited me to take part in the traditional ceremonies and after party. First things first, this meant it was time for me to buy my very own saree- a customary dress for Sri Lankan women! After being told this can be very difficult as a foreigner, three of my girl friends took me to a local shop to pick out the fabric. We decided that a Kandyan saree would be most suitable for the occasion which meant a lot of measurements and poking.  After three days and the evening before the wedding, my saree was finally ready. Because the celebrations begin very early in the morning, I woke up at 4am to get ready. With a lot of help from my neighbors and tons of laughing, I was dressed within an hour. 

Traditional Sri Lankan weddings are beautiful! There are so many amazing rituals and customs performed in the morning that are influenced from Buddhist culture. I learned so much about the country in only one day by understanding the hidden meanings and values behind each act. I was also blown away by how stunning all of the women looked.

 Makeup is not commonly worn, so it was a lot of fun seeing everyone so dressed up. Furthermore, there are a lot of differences from our traditions in comparison to theirs. For example, there is no special kiss and the bride and groom cut “kiri bath” (milk rice) instead of cake. One of my favorite moments was seeing three Buddhist monks give their blessings and chant sections from Jayamangala Gatha.  
The ceremony takes place on a Poruwa, a beautifully decorated platform in the center of the hall. The bride and groom must enter the Poruwa leading with the right foot first, and are presented with beetles leaves and other items that all represent different symbolic gestures. The day was filled with amazing local food (which is eaten with your hands), tons of music and dancing, and overwhelming amounts of love. Everyone was interested in seeing me in a saree as I was the only foreigner at the event. Overall, it was a great time and has convinced me that I no longer want a traditional Canadian wedding! 

-Jackie Dolski


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