From the position and decoration of the bride’s room, to the date of the wedding, fortune telling and Feng Shui play prominent parts in modern Khmer weddings.
Paying heed to supernatural advice and beliefs is believed to auger well for the future of the married couple.
“Calculating fate and choosing the best possible wedding date are very important for both the bride and groom, because it will determine whether they live happily ever after or not,” said Huoy Samnang, a 61-year-old fortune teller.
Huoy Samnang has helped numerous Cambodian couples interpret the omens, dispensing advice depending on how strong their bond is.
“I can see the fate of the man and his lady. If they are a true couple and can live together happily, I will choose a good day for their wedding. But if they are not in true love and cannot live together, I will not generate a wedding day for them.”
According to the fortune teller, if his calculations reveal a bad future and the couple insists on getting married anyway, the relationship is doomed to end in separation or tragedy.
“I calculate fate based on the age, date of birth, and five astrological elements of the bride and groom, and the strength of their love,” he said.
Ni Den, a 20-year-old student, said that her parents took her details to a Buddhist holy man and a Chinese Feng Shui master prior to the wedding.
“The Chinese Feng Shui master calculated the right date and time for us to prepare our room, and he asked my mother to arrange the bed, pillow, and blanket in a certain way and lock the room afterwards, barring everyone from entering it until after the wedding,” she said.
Chey Chanthear, an accountant, is about to get married, and her parents have also consulted a Buddhist holy man.
“My parents took my date of birth to him, and luckily the birth date of me and my husband are compatible,” she said.
While most people seek numerological advice before marrying, many of them say they do it mainly for tradition’s sake.
Ni Den and Chey Chanthear both got positive results from the number-crunching, but say that their future happiness depends on them and their partners, rather than fate.
“When the calculation turned out well, I was very happy. But I think the most important thing in marriage is our behavior and attitude. Because we love each other, even when there are problems between us, we will solve them.”