Welcome to Candidasa » Traditions » Wedding ceremony


Like all important events of the cycle of life ceremonies, the day the wedding will take place is determined by the Balinese calendar. But the casta of the groom is the most important determinant for the dimensions of the party.Starting months before the actual wedding, the female family members are preparing the big day by making decorations, cooking and frying items to put in the offerings. The men come to help with the building of temporary constructions in and around the house of the groom.
The young couple will send invitations to all of their friends and family, to inform them what will happen when and where.
What to wear is also depending on the casta of the groom. The bride marries into his casta and his family. So marrying a man from a higher casta means an "upgrade", choosing a husband from a lower casta is a decline. For men the casta of his future wife plays no role, for him there's no upgrade possible.
The day before the wedding family and friends are already visiting the happy couple and the family, because on the official ceremonial day there will be only little time to socialize. The pile of presents is growing quickly, consisting of things like rice, coffee, sugar, tea, sarongs, items needed during ceremonies and other necessary household paraphernalia.

Around 4 o’clock in the morning the men start slaughtering the pigs. Two will be used for the suckling pig (babi guling) and at least one is to be transferred into sate, sausages and the popular lawar, a mixture of blood and spices. Strips of the skin and the underlying fat are artistically fixed on skewers to make a kind of bouquet. Exactly these "flowers" are the favorite sate for many Balinese.

In the meantime the women are busy preparing the food for the numerous guests that are expected that day. Originally ceremonial cooking had to be done on a wood-fire, but nowadays everybody uses gas stoves.





What time the ceremony starts, depends on the arrival of the pemangku -the village priest- or the pedanda, the high priest. Of course the family made an appointment with him or her in advance, but if the priest is still involved in another ceremony, the people just wait until his other duties are finished. That is a normal Balinese occurrence.
The priest is seated on a kind of platform, where he starts with putting on all the specials clothes and attributes corresponding to his duties. After a short while of meditation and concentration, he will clean the surroundings from uninvited spirits and blesses the offers with prayers, holy water and the smoke of incense.
Then the bride & groom appear before him to receive special cleansing rituals & prayers for a successful proceeding of the ceremony and a harmonious union of the couple. 


After this a series of rituals follows that vary from village tot village and family to family. But they are all associated with the future role of the bride, as a wife, mother and housekeeper, and the duty of the groom to take good care of his wife and generate income for his family. During these rituals the couple is surrounded by immediate family to make sure all procedures are performed properly.
The ceremonial part closes down with signing the papers of the religious registration of the weddingceremony and a visit to the bride’s family temple for further prayers. A priest from the bride’s family makes contact with her ancestors to inform them that from no on she is part of her husband’s family and will be living there.
Because this ceremony is rather expensive, some Balinese couples choose the traditional “stealing the bride" strategy. That only requires one small ceremony, followed three days later by a somewhat bigger one.
The days after the wedding family and friends will come and go as this is a three-day ceremony. Normally within a few days husband and wife will attend the Catatan Civil, the administration office of the community, to register their marriage. For this is no ceremony needed, it is a pure administrative matter.