Planning a wedding in Asia? If you and your partner have chosen a destination to celebrate your family’s heritage, including a local wedding tradition could be a fantastic way to make the occasion really special.
Here’s a quick look at some of the most beautiful and interesting wedding traditions across Asian countries, including Hong Kong, Vietnam, Malaysia and Cambodia.
1. Dam Hoi – tea ceremony
Tea ceremonies are a common and very important feature of weddings in many Asian countries. For example, in Hong Kong the tea ceremony is one of the most important parts of the day, as it’s used as a way of showing respect to the couple’s parents and older relatives.
In Vietnam, the Dam Hoi tea ceremony serves a similar purpose, where the serving of the tea symbolises sharing, coming together and respect. The happy couple serve their respective new in-laws and grandparents, to say thank you for raising them. In return, the family give the couple gifts such as jewellery or even nuts, wine, pastries, fruits or sticky rice.
2. Berinai ceremonies – henna staining
A crucial part of traditional weddings in Malaysia are Berinai ceremonies, where close relatives apply intricate henna designs to the bride and groom. This can take place over three days, in a series of henna staining ceremonies known as Berinai Curi, Berinai Kecil and after the marriage ceremony, Berinar Besar. In this final ceremony, family members on both sides take turns to apply henna and a mix of rice and flour to the couple’s palms and foreheads.
3. Hai Goan Gomloh – groom’s parade
In traditional Khmer weddings in Cambodia, an important part of the 2–3-day celebrations is the groom’s processional (Hai Goan Gomloh). The groom and his party make a symbolic journey to his new bride’s house, bearing silver and gold trays containing fruit and gifts. These gifts are then proudly displayed around the bride’s house. The purpose of the parade is to meet the bride’s family, part of one of many ceremonies to unite the couple and their respective families.
4. Mangal Fera – circling the sacred fire
In traditional Hindu weddings, the ceremony of Kanyadan involves the bride’s parents ‘giving away’ their daughter to the groom.
A small sacred fire is lit, and a ceremony called Havan performed. This is followed by Mangal Fera, also known as the circling of the sacred fire. While a priest chants the mantras, the couple circle the holy fire a total of four times.
Each circle, known as a fera, represent the four goals of life for Hindu followers. These are the moral sense to lead a good life (Dharma), prosperity (Artha), energy and passion (Kama) and liberation through self-realisation (Moksha).
If you’re dreaming of an unforgettable wedding in Asia, plan it with Blank Canvas and we’ll make sure every detail is absolutely perfect. You’ll get your own travel expert to put together a bespoke itinerary, from the traditional wedding ceremony through to a blissful honeymoon. Start planning your special day here.