In Cambodia, the people need no excuse to celebrate. There are a huge number of special occasions in the calendar year anyway, and if there is a wedding as well, that is certainly a time for great rejoicing. If you get the chance to attend a wedding during your Cambodia holiday, take it. A good Cambodia travel agent will put together a Cambodia travel itinerary rich in variety and certainly it will include visiting the rural areas that have changed little over the years. If you come across a wedding in any of the villages, think about staying a little longer.
Traditional weddings last up to three days and three nights, starting with the groom’s family visiting the bride’s family bearing gifts as a dowry. After all the introductions, wedding rings are exchanged. There are three traditional songs sung at that time before the happy couple offer tea to their ancestors. Not surprisingly, this part is known as the Tea Ceremony.
Their hair is then cut to symbolize the new phase in their lives as a married couple. Family members and friends each take turns making a small cut. They also take turns in tying the couple’s wrists before flowers are thrown over them and a traditional song is sung. The reception follows amid great celebrations, music and plenty of drinking.
In rural Cambodia, marriages are often arranged by families. The couple are unlikely to have much contact before their marriage. In most cases, the woman will still be a teenager when she gets married. Divorce is easy enough to arrange but it is fairly uncommon so the system clearly works.
In cities, young couples tend to meet in social situations and make their own choices. They may get to know each other over a period of time but premarital sex is still fairly unusual amongst couples who see their futures together.
In most cases, people marry before the age of 25. City weddings tend to be just a single day; cost is one factor with the practicalities of living and working in a city another. Wealthy families may still follow tradition even in the city with weddings lasting days. Venues vary from large halls to tents in open spaces.
Few Cambodian weddings have a strictly controlled guest list. It is not quite an open invitation but there is certainly a chance that if you come across a wedding taking place during your Cambodia tour package, you will be asked to join in. You will be expected to put some money in an envelope for the couple. You do not need to be formally dressed to attend a wedding; a long-sleeved shirt of upper garment, trousers and dresses for women. Locals may well wear traditional costumes and that all adds to the quality of the occasion. If you are asked to be in any photographs, agree straightaway. It will add to your own album and your many happy memories of your time in friendly Cambodia.