DOWRY A dowry is money or property brought by a bride to her husband at marriage. Cambodians, however, believe that the groom should present the bride with gifts. He travels to the brides home accompanied by his family with trays filled with fruits, cakes, gifts, and jewelry. Instead of money, the gifts are arranged and presented to the brides family on silver trays. The number of trays depends on the grooms wealth and status. During this time, family and friends meet and the wedding rings are exchanged. Three songs are included in the dowry celebration.
The fruits, cakes, and gifts are arranged in a certain manner. The display is presented to the bride and groom from the guests at their wedding.
Arrival of the Groom ( Neay Pream He Kaun Kamlas): this song tells the story of the groom and his family's journey to the bride's home.
Presenting the Dowry (Chambak Rouy): ·A conversation between the matchmakers, parents, relatives, and friends of the bride and groom. The groom's family and friends formally present the dowry gifts to the bride's family.
Inviting the Elders to Chew Betel Nut (Pak Paeuk Pisa Sla): The betel nut is presented to the bride and groom's elders. Parents of both the bride and groom ask for blessings and well wishes for their children.
HOW MANY DAYS DOES THE WEDDING LAST? Traditional Cambodian weddings last three days and three nights. Three is an important number to Cambodians because it is symbolic of the three jewels of Buddhism. The three jewels are the… 1. The Buddha 2. The Sangha (the brotherhood of monks) 3. The Dhamma (Buddhas teachings)
Here is a picture of the brotherhood of monks. They will bless the couple's union
SPECIAL/UNIQUE TRADITIONS Cambodians celebrate their weddings in a unique and special way. Below are a few of the interesting ceremonies included in the wedding celebration.
PRE-CEREMONIAL ACTIVITIES Breakfast: Following the celebration of the dowry, Cambodians have a special breakfast in which the bride and groom feed each other. When they are done, the other guests may eat. During the breakfast, the master of ceremony entertains guests by playing folk songs. Cambodians who are of Chinese descent use this time to offer tea to the spirits of their ancestors. Hair cutting ceremony: In this ceremony, the bride and groom get their hair symbolically cut. (In the past, the couples hair really got cut.) The mock haircut represents a new relationship as husband and wife. The master of ceremony cuts the hair first, followed by the bride and grooms parents, relatives, and friends.
SONGS OF CEREMONY Throughout the ceremony, four songs are sung: Phat Cheay : a song that invites the bride and her bridesmaids to the ceremony. Kang Saeuy : this song is played when gifts are offered to the ancestors. Bangvel Po Pil (Seven Rotations): While the candles are passed around seven times, family members wave the smoke which is believed to protect the couple from evil. Bay Khon Chang Dai (Tying the Wrists): The following song is sung while the bride and grooms wrists are being tied: "We tie, we tie three strings to each wrist of our children. We wish for true happiness and success to this couple, who will always be together like wet grass seeds. We tie your left wrist to make you remember your parents. We tie your right wrist to make you carry on the family lineage and traditions."
Wedding attire Cambodian weddings are colorful events. Traditionally the bride and groom wear red and gold. Cambodian women wear various colors throughout the wedding ceremony. The bride may have up to ten dress changes. She changes outfits about every thirty minutes. The bride is often adorned with gold, jewels, and makeup. The groom also changes his wedding attire. He wears a traditional sarong. For the final ceremony, he is dressed like royalty.
Here is a picture of the groom and his groomsmen wearing a traditional sarong.
Political System A constitutional monarchy is a form of monarchical government established under a constitutional system which acknowledges an elected or hereditary monarch as head of the state.
Politics Administration Judiciary system Defense/offense
Administration---strict hierarchy The king--- supreme judge Priests---the ruling class From Viceroys to village chiefs--- different responsibilities Express couriers--- look after urgent business in the capital
Jurisdiction --- trial by ordeal Death sentence---buried the criminal alive Lesser punishment---amputation of the fingers, legs, hands or nose. Minor offense---flogging Note: no law against adultery
Defense/offense Strong military power 1.Temporary army: Builder-peasant-soldier 2. Permanent army: 1) Royal Regiment of War Elephants 200,000 2) Cavalry---the pride of the empire 3) navy---ships and armored canoes
TEMPLES There are over a hundred major temples sites to be visited in and around Siem Reap-the remains in brick and stone of cities that were built by a succession of Khmer Kings between the 9th and 13th centuries. Beside visiting Khmer Temples, there are thousand of pagodas speeding the country.
YAMA Yama, Lord of the Dead Courtyard, National Museum of Cambodia Khmer, 12th century The only object in the museum which may be photographed is this sensitive statue of Yama in the courtyard. The god is sitting without his usual buffalo mount. This celebrated piece comes from Angkor Thom's Terrace of the Leper King, so-called because prior to cleaning, the statue had been splotched with lichen. Terrace of the Leper King
Battle Dance (Battle with Ravana) Hanuman's soldier trains for their battle with Ravana The Ramayana was written about 2,000 years ago. The 48,000 line epic odyssey is essentially a moral tale, describing the adventures of Prince Rama, an incarnation of the God Vishnu. Before Rama's birth the gods determined that his life would be one of a hero, but that he would be tested through trial and tribulation.
Ramayana Renouncing his throne, the prince was banished and wandered in the wilderness with his beautiful wife Sita, and his brother Lasma, for many years. Sita was abducted by the evil King Ravana. Rama finds her with the help of Hanuman, the King of the monkeys and son of the God of the wind.
Buong Suong.. a prayer for freedom, victory and prosperity.
Moni Mekhala Goddess Of Water According to Khmer popular legends, the thunder-storm is all that mortal eyes are allowed to see of this recurrent celestial affray; The lightning representing the glitter of Mekhala's crystal ball and the thunder the clatter of Ream Eyso's magic axe as it slips from his fingers. It might likewise be said to symbolize the victory of chastity and innocence over the powers of darkness.
Here some examples of crowns, masks and costumes
Dance Costume The glittering costumes worn today resemble Thai robes and crowns, emphasizing an odd exchange between Cambodia and Thailand that came about as a result of the Thai conquest of Angkor five centuries ago. When invading Thai pillaged Angkor, they carried away priests, dancers and artisans to enhance their court in imitation of the Khmers.
On the left is a mask worn by a character known as Ream Eyso. This storm demon battles with Moni Mekhala (goddess of water) to steal her magic crystal. The mask on the right is worn by a character known as Ravana (Reap), the ten-headed demon who kidnaps Rama's wife, Sita, in the Ramayana. battles with Moni Mekhala Rama's wife, Sita
Kheynorey Costume (a mythical half bird/human from Heaven)
Khenorey costumes are often found on Cambodia and Thai Temples
Cambodia Religion Thearavada Buddhism is the official religion in Cambodia which is practiced by 95 percent of the population-- just like that of Thailand, Burma, Sri Lanka. However, Christianity and Cham Muslim are being active and popular among a large number of population as well in the capital and provinces, showing a sign of growth. Daoism and Confuism are also commonly practiced among the Chinese people.
Buddhism is the predominant religion in Cambodia. In each family, the oldest son is expected to spend several months as a monk in order to provide merit for his family.
Gender roles and status The division of labor by gender: Most tasks performed by men. Women are responsible for household chores. The relative status of women and men: women relatively strong Women control family finances Women have less access than men
Castes and classes Wealthy people are more honorable
Symbol of social stratification Wealth people have to be publicly known