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Traditional Thai Weddings
Traditional Thai weddings are unique with many steps to follow. Before the wedding ceremony, the groom needs to visit the bride's home to talk about the money and gifts to be given to her family. Many male foreigners think this is not fair; they find it strange that money and precious gifts should be given to the bride's family. However, this is a Thai tradition. It is the groom's way of thanking the family of his future wife for letting him marry her; it is his way of assuring them that he will take good care of her.
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Thai Weddings : Morning Ceremony
The wedding starts early in the morning with the procession ceremony called 'Hae Khun Mag'. During this ceremony, the groom leads the guests and brings gifts and food to the bride's house. The 'Ram Klong Yao' song plays until the end of this procession. This is a funny but happy and lively song.
After arriving at the bride's house, the groom has to cross two gates, the 'Silver Gate' and the 'Gold Gate'. For this, girls who are always the bride's sisters hold two doors and obstruct the groom's way with chains or necklaces. The groom can only pass through by giving them envelopes containing money or other gifts. He must pay more to enter through the 'Gold Gate'.
Thai Weddings : Buddhist Ceremony
Following that, the 'Buddhist Wedding Ceremony' takes place. For this, nine monks are invited to the house. The bride, groom, family and guests make merit and virtue by preparing food and desserts for the nine monks. After giving them blessings, the monks return to the temple. In the afternoon, a traditional wedding custom known as 'Rod Nam Sang' (or the 'Shell Ceremony') takes place. This is the main event which brings together both the families of the bride and the groom. During this ceremony, the bride and the groom sit together on a small stage. Then their parents and guests pour a shell filled with holy water (Nam Sang) on their hands and give them blessings.
Thai Wedding : Evening Party
After completing all the wedding customs in the morning, the wedding party is held in the evening of the same day. For couples living in urban areas, the party normally takes place at big hotels and restaurants and is often an expensive affair. However, for couples from rural areas, the party is held at their own house.
Thai Wedding : Evening Ceremony
The final ceremony is 'Song Tua', which is about sending the newly wed couple to the bedroom (Ruen Hor). For this, they must invite a respectable adult couple, who have been married only once, to 'pave' their bed in order to bring an auspicious thing to their beginning.