Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat in Cambodia
the world's largest religious monument built in the 12th century
now a world heritage site
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Roeung Kann Daav Sampaeh Kaar

Story of
Holding a Sword during a Wedding Ceremony


A long time ago, due to some rebellions around the country, the King ordered one of his high ranking officials accompanied by the army to go to different towns and villages to try to suppress them and to consequently restore order.

Whilst carrying out his mission in one village very far away, he happened to see a beautiful girl on her way to fetch water. He fell in love with her and wanted to marry her. With very little time on his hands, he went to see her parents and asked for her hand in marriage. Since the girl wasn’t spoken for in marriage, the parents were very pleased to accept his request. 

The King’s official could not have been happier. He explained to the girl’s parents that he would have to leave immediately to fulfil his duty to the King first, and promised that he would come back in three months’ time to be married according to the village tradition. Before leaving, in order to prove that he was serious about it, he gave three ounces of gold to the girl as a token of his love and promise. 

Three months passed and there was no sign of the official’s returning nor any word from him. The parents, in trying to be understanding, made allowances by giving him some benefit of the doubt. However, after three years had gone by, they decided that the official had truly forgotten all about their daughter. 

Meanwhile, there was a young man who couldn’t help falling in love with the same girl despite knowing very well that she had been engaged to the King’s official. He couldn’t eat or sleep, and fell very ill. He told his parents that he would rather die than live without her. Knowing how powerful the official was, his parents warned him that he was playing with fire and therefore tried their best to dissuade him. The young man was adamant that, after three years, the official must have forgotten all about the girl. Persuaded by his reasoning as well as feeling sorry for their son, the young man’s parents went to ask the girl’s parents for her hand in marriage to their son. 

The girl’s parents were reluctant at first. But after some discussion with each other, they too agreed that, after three years the official had forgotten about their daughter. As the girl was getting older and not wanting her to miss the opportunity of having a family, they accepted the request from the young man’s parents. And without any delay, the wedding was organised. 

However, contrary to people’s opinion about him forgetting the girl, the King’s official still loved her and his intention to marry her remained unchanged. But, due to the grave political situation in the country at the time, he could not get away; and also the current feudal situation meant communications were not possible. One day, he gathered all his courage to tell the King the truth about his love for the girl and asked for the King’s permission to go to the village to marry her. As soon as he got the permission from the King, he travelled non stop in order to reach the village as soon as possible.   

Unfortunately, the arrival day of the King’s official to the village coincided with the young man's wedding day. The official arrived to the house during the ritual of ‘Ptim Chorng Dey’ or the ‘Pairing and tying the knot’ ceremony when the bride and the groom were sitting side by side to receive blessing from their parents, relatives and friends. The official was extremely jealous and very angry which spontaneously drove him to pull the bride to his side and kill the groom with his sword, there and then.  

Having seen this incident in front of their very eyes, the village elders and the wise men became very aware of the power of the sword. With the use of the weapon, the official had the power to easily eliminate his rival and get the girl back. Without a sword, the groom had no mean to protect himself. It was therefore decided that, from that time onwards, the groom should hold a sword during the pairing ceremony at his wedding – a tradition that remains in place until today.