The Buddhist community do not see marriage as a sacrosanct institution as most other religions. A Buddhist marriage accords prime importance to faith, of the two people, their families and their beliefs. Hence, rituals are not manifold, making a Buddhist wedding one of the most simple yet profound wedding ceremonies. Let us immerse ourselves in the Buddhist spirit.


Horoscope matching: In the Buddhist community, horoscope matching is given due consideration. If the horoscopes of the prospective bride and groom match, the groom's family, in consultation with the lama (priest), selects an auspicious day to put forth the formal proposal for marriage to the bride's family.

Chessian: Chessian is the official betrothal ceremony when the date of the wedding is fixed in consultation with the astrologer. Herein, the maternal uncle of the bride's parents is seated on a raised platform. Recitals of prayer take place, followed by the distribution of madyan (a religious drink) to all the guests present.


On the stipulated day of wedding, in the early hours of the day, the families of both the bride and the groom arrive at the temple, or any other chosen venue for the wedding to take place. The groom's family brings along with them trays laden with fruits, wine, traditional cake, tea, meat and most importantly, the jewelry that the bride will be gifted as part of her dowry. The number of trays must be either six or nine, and never seven or eight as those numbers are considered inauspicious and unlucky. One of the trays contains a pair of candles. They are lit either by the bride and groom or by their parents; the tradition varies from place to place. The lighting of the two candles symbolically suggests the union of the two families.

Before a specially erected shrine and the image of Lord Buddha, the couple and all present recite a handful of hymns (vandana, tisarana and pancasila). The candles and incense sticks are lit and flowers are offered to Lord Buddha. The parents of the couple now places a loop of strings on their heads to connect them. The couple recites the traditional undertakings as inscribed in the Sigilovdda Sutta. Following this, the couple makes offerings to the monks at the temple such as flowers, food, sweets and medicines. At times, token money is also donated to the temple seeking well-being and happiness for the newlyweds. The priest conducting the wedding places a thread on the heads of the monks. The thread is connected to a container that is sanctified after the ceremony. A red paste is smeared on the foreheads of the couple while the recitations of Mangal Sutta and Jayamangala Gatha take place.


Once the ceremony at the temple is over, some family rituals of both the families take place like a prayer in the spirit house, a feast or any exchange of gifts. The newly married couple then directly proceeds to their new home without much fanfare.