The joy of a marriage is celebrated everywhere in the world with sweet-filled festivity that features foods rich not only in ingredients and cost but symbolism. Certain dishes are specifically served at weddings to emphasize both the sheer delight of the occasion and the hope that fertility and prosperity come next. In Morocco, guests are greeted with a plate of dates that represent the sweet smoothness of life, and a glass of milk that signifies the safety of family and the happiness that comes from being nourished. In the Philippines, guests are served suman, a very sticky rice cake wrapped in coconut leaves that signals the gluing and wrapping together of two lives. Long noodles called kuk soo are served at Korean weddings to express hope that the newlyweds share a long life, and dessert may be yak shik, sticky rice sweetened with brown sugar and doused with raisins, pine nuts, and chestnuts, because these represent fertility.
Sandra Garson is the author of Veggiyana, the Dharma of Cooking and How to Fix a Leek and Other Food From Your Farmers’ Market. As a longtime student of Tibetan Buddhism and well-known cook for Dharma centers from Maine to Mongolia, she became the first food historian to explore the Buddha’s influence on how the world now eats. This led to exploration of more religious beliefs about food.