First of all Sri Lankan weddings are a great opportunity for beautiful wedding photography - full of colours, details and traditions.
The Poruwa ceremony represents a significant social and cultural contribution to the wedding. The word ‘Poruwa' means "Wedding Stage" or "Wedding Throne". In this case, was the Poruwa even more special because have been built and decorated by the bride's father.
In the past, was the Poruwa Ceremony held on a crest of a small hill in the village, for the community to witness and participate in the event. Senior members of the community would proclaim that the couple is engaged in matrimony with the consent of the parents and community. The senior community member then declares that the couple is free to live together as husband and wife. The ceremony has evolved to the present-day form, involving the Bride and Groom's families, friends and community.
Following is a short description of the most important parts of the Poruwa ceremony we have experienced.
The Groom and his party walk towards the Poruwa, led by traditional Sri Lankan drummers and dancers. The Groom and family took place on the right of the Poruwa.
The Bride arrived, accompanied by her family to stand on the left side of the Poruwa. She was also led by traditional drummers and dancers to the Poruwa.
The lighting of two lamps at two corners of the Poruwa by the two mothers.
The host sought permission, blow the conch shell and the couple ascended the Poruwa with the assistance of their fathers, with their right foot first and greet each other.
One sheaf of betel leaves was received and handed back to the host. Sheaves of betel leaves were dropped by the Bride and Groom in unison to respect and receive blessings of 7 generations of forefathers.
This is the most important aspect of the Poruwa Ceremony. Uncle of the bride tied the two little fingers of the couple together. Blessed water was poured on the knot to establish unity and invoke health, wealth and happiness - symbolising the transfer of rights, responsibilities and obligations to the groom to take care of and support his bride.
After being united as a couple, they exchanged gifts. The groom presented a necklace to the bride. The bride then fed the groom milk-rice, symbolising the strength of their union and caring for one another in love. The groom then fed the bride the milk-rice.
The centre of attraction in this part of the ceremony is when the Bride offers a gift to her parents. This act expresses gratitude to her parents for nurturing her to become a responsible woman. The groom also joined the bride in giving gifts to his parents - expressing thanksgiving. Traditional betel leaves are used as offerings by the couple.
A group of relatives recited the Jayamangala Gatha song to bless the couple.
The couple stepped down from the Poruwa, lead by the bride’s uncle and proceeded to light the Traditional Oil Lamp - this signifies the beginning of the couple's new life together and concludes the Sri Lankan Poruwa Ceremony.
Sri Lankan wedding was for me very interesting experience and very inspirational occasion to photograph.