Sri Lankan Wedding Traditions: 12 Must-Know Customs

In Sri Lanka, weddings extend beyond the simple celebration of two people coming together. They also represent a rich mix of customs and traditions handed down through generations.

Sri Lankan wedding ceremonies can differ significantly based on region, religion, and caste, with each showcasing a unique blend of rituals and traditions. Therefore, in this article, we will introduce you to the top 12 unique customs that define these weddings.

1. Auspicious Times – “Nakath”

At Sri Lankan weddings, they believe that the positions of stars and planets can affect their lives. So, they will start weddings at special times, known as “Nakath”, when the stars and planets are in a favorable position. Because they believe that conducting wedding rituals during these times will bring good luck and happiness to the married couple.

Choose the auspicious time to start Sri Lankan wedding

2. The “Poruwa” Ceremony

The most important part of a Sri Lankan wedding is the “Poruwa” ceremony. Normally, this is a beautifully decorated wooden stage with fresh flowers and leaves. And at a lucky time, the bride and groom step onto the Poruwa. Here, they perform various rituals like tying their fingers with a gold thread, washing their hands with water, and exchanging leaves. This will show their promise to stay together and hope for a happy, successful life.


3. The Traditional Attire

At the wedding, the bride usually wears a “Kandyan Osariya”, which is a long saree wrapped around her body. It often has red or a shade of red and is paired with a specially designed blouse. Moreover,  She also wears typical jewelry, a special head accessory, earrings, and necklaces, making her more beautiful and stunning at her wedding.

Besides, the groom often either wears a “Mul Anduma” or a “Nilame Suit”. The “Mul Anduma” is a traditional costume that includes up to 15 parts, while the “Nilame Suit” is a less complex option, made up of a coat, trousers, and a cap. So, you can imagine the traditional attire is so brilliant when wearing.

Kandyan Osariya

4. Milk and Kiribath

The bride’s mother traditionally prepares the Kiribath – milk rice. After the couple exchanges vow on the Poruwa (ceremonial platform), they share the Kiribath as their first meal together as a married couple. The bride will feed her groom a piece of Kiribath and he does the same for her.

Additionally, milk is considered a symbol of purity and prosperity in Sri Lankan culture. During the wedding, a pot of milk is boiled and allowed to spill over, which is believed to bring blessings and abundance to the couple’s new life together.

Milk and Kiribath

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5. Pirith Nool

Sri Lankan weddings have the “Pirith Nool” which is a thread blessed by Buddhist monks during a religious ceremony known as “Pirith Chanting”. And the blessed thread is then tied around the hands of the bride and groom during the wedding ceremony to bring good luck and protection.

Pirith Nool

6. The Traditional Procession – “Perahera”

Moreover, the wedding also has a big parade called  The “Perahera”. Normally, this parade has dancers and drummers who perform traditional music and dance. Sometimes, even elephants are included in the parade, creating a fun atmosphere at the wedding when joining.

Elephant at wedding

7. Sath Pada

In Sri Lankan wedding traditions, the number seven has a sacred meaning. So, they will prepare the “Sath Pada”, where the couple takes seven steps together around the ceremonial fire. Each step represents a vow or blessing for their future life together, such as prosperity, good health, and mutual love.

Seven steps

8. Giving gifts

The gifting of white cloth, also known as “Andana”, is a significant ritual in these weddings. The groom’s family gifts a piece of white cloth to the bride’s family, which symbolizes purity and the strong bond formed between the two families. The bride’s mother usually receives the cloth and it’s used to cover the marriage bed. This ritual is believed to bring good luck and signifies a harmonious start to the couple’s new life together.

Marriage bed

9. Kandyan Drummers

At weddings, they will invite Kandyan drummers to play music, creating a funny atmosphere wedding. Normally, they play traditional drums, like the “Geta Beraya” and “Thammattama”. These drums create rhythmic, lively music that adds to the festive mood of the wedding.

Geta Beraya

10. Traditional Wedding Dances

When joining weddings, they will perform the Kandyan dance, adding a lot of fun to the celebration. It’s a beautiful, flowing dance that showcases the rich culture of the Kandyan region. Moreover, at some weddings, they also perform the “Raban” dance with a small handheld drum. These dances create a lively and happy atmosphere at the wedding.

Kandyan Dancer at wedding

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11. The Feast – “Jaheela”

Additionally, you also experience “Jaheela” here. It includes a variety of traditional Sri Lankan dishes. The menu often includes flavorful rice dishes and spicy curries. For dessert, guests will enjoy sweets like “Kavum”, a type of fried sweet, and “Watalappan”, a dessert made from coconut and spices.

Sri Lankan dishes

12. Homecoming Ceremony

After the wedding, a homecoming ceremony is held a few days later. The bride and groom visit the groom’s house in a procession similar to the wedding, marking the end of the wedding celebrations.

Sri Lankan wedding


In conclusion, Sri Lankan wedding traditions offer a captivating mix of rituals, music, dance, and cuisine, making it a truly unforgettable experience. From the selection of auspicious times to the grand feast, each tradition carries its own symbolism and charm.

Read more: Puerto Rican Wedding Traditions: 14 Interested Customs


  1. What customs are part of a Sri Lankan wedding ceremony?

    In Sri Lankan weddings, the mother of the bride offers the couple a special blend of milk, rice, and kavum, which is a traditional deep-fried Sri Lankan sweet. The bride then gives her husband a piece to eat, and he does the same for her. After this, the newlyweds, assisted by the groom's family, step down from the ceremonial platform at a specific auspicious time previously decided by astrologers.

  2. Can foreign nationals get married in Sri Lanka?

    Yes, the Sri Lankan government permits foreigners to hold their marriage ceremonies and registration in the country. To do this, the couple should prepare and present certain documents. The legal process to register marriages of foreign nationals in Sri Lanka is quite clear and straightforward.

  3. What is the usual duration of a Sri Lankan wedding?

    Typically, Tamil weddings in Sri Lanka are celebrated over one day. There might be smaller religious ceremonies held before the main event, but these are not part of the primary festivities and are usually only attended by close family members.

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