Speakers at an interreligious dialogue session on marriage: (from left) Ms Vasandy S. N., Venerable Chuan Guan, Master Chung Kwang Tong, Ustaz Zulhilmi Mohamed and Msgr Philip Heng.

Catholics and people of other faiths learnt a little about the meaning and rituals behind various religions’ celebration of marriage on May 2.

About 40 people attended the second in a series of sharings by representatives of different religions at the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd.

The event, organised by the Archdiocesan Catholic Council for Interreligious Dialogue (ACCIRD), saw speakers from the Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist, Muslim and Catholic communities giving 10-minute presentations.

Ms Vasandy S. N., a member of the teaching faculty of the Philosophy Department in the Hindu Hub, spoke about some of the common rituals in a Hindu marriage such as Grahayajna, the appointing of a priest; and Kanyadanam, the giving away of the bride by her father.

Buddhist monk, Venerable Chuan Guan, chairman of the Dharma Propagation Committee, Singapore Buddhist Federation, said that there are virtually no marriage rituals in Buddhism.

However, he shared some Buddhist teachings on the behaviour of husband and wife to each other, such as being “in tune” with each other in faith, exhibiting virtuous behaviour, generosity and wisdom.

Master Chung Kwang Tong, a 34th-generation Taoist priest of the lineage of the Quan Zhen Longmen (Dragon Gate) Tradition, shared some of the rituals of the Taoist wedding ceremony, such as the bride and groom honouring heaven and earth, honouring their elders, and bowing to one another to show mutual respect.

Ustaz Zulhilmi Mohamed, mosque manager of An-Nahdhah Mosque in Bishan, gave an idea of some of the terms used in the Muslim solemnisation ceremony called Akad Nikah, such as Mahar (gift for the bride), Saksi (two witnesses) and Naib Kadi/Kadi (solemniser).

Msgr Philip Heng, rector of the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd and archdiocesan Vicar General for Interreligious Relations, shared that the most important element in a Catholic marriage is that God is at the centre of it, and that marriage is a lifetime commitment to God.

The first in the series of such talks, organised by the ACCIRD, was on Aug 5 last year. It saw religious representatives sharing on the topic of birth in their traditions. 

By Christopher Khoo
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