Weddings vary according to religion, region, caste, ethnicity and language. The following traditions are of the Sinhalese ethnic group, predominately Buddhists, whose traditions also differ between north and southern regions.

Bride: Wears four silk saris (they can vary from the Indian to Kandyan Style) for the wedding celebrations. She also wears a nalalpata, a headband with a gold gem-studded forehead plate, traditionally worn by royal rulers. A mass of chains is worn around her neck. Padakkam (pendants) are an important part of the chains, each having a name – peti malaya, the agasthi malaya and the seri valatu. The earrings, known as dimithi, have the shape of an overturned cup with tiny pearls dangling from two ear studs. Some brides wear armlets to ward off bad luck.

Groom: Wears a traditional nilame (or mul anduma) suit over his sarong and shirt, and atamulu thoppiya (eight-cornered hat).

Celebrations: For the main marriage ceremony, the couple is escorted to the wedding location by drummers and dancers. The wedding takes place on a poruwa, a beautifully decorated wooden ceremonial platform.

The couple then makes offerings to the gods using seven betel leaf bundles, requesting protection for the seven generations that will follow from their union. The couple then exchanges rings, and the groom also gives the bride a gold necklace.

Four girls do a jayamangala gatha chant as the couple’s pinkies are tied together with gold thread. Holy water is poured over the fingers. Other traditions follow and at the end, as the couple step down from the poruwa platform, a coconut is broken as a symbolic gesture to drive away evil spirits.

These pictures were taken from Lasitha De Chikera ,Thanuja Bandaranayka’s and Tiran Lakmal , Uresha Disanayake’s weddings. Special thanks to Lasitha’s sister Sujani De Chikera and Uresha’s brother Isuru Disanayake who gave some pictures to us…