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The Myanmar Times - - Wedding 2016 -

NYONE who has gone through it knows that wed­dings can be a trial, es­pe­cially for the ones most in­volved, the cou­ple. In Myan­mar, even set­ting the date can be­come quite a com­pli­cated af­fair. Just ask Zin Mar Soe and Htay Htay, who are at their wits’ end about what they have to do to marry their part­ners. And it has to do with cul­ture and be­liefs.

Zin Mar Soe is wor­ried she won’t be able to get mar­ried in 2017 to her boyfriend of five years, and not be­cause of any rift be­tween them. She wishes to get mar­ried dur­ing the first week of July to com­mem­o­rate the day they fell in love – and that’s the is­sue. Un­for­tu­nately, ac­cord­ing to the Myan­mar cal­en­dar, next July falls within the Bud­dhist Len­ten pe­riod.

Usu­ally that is not so, but since 2017 co­in­cides with the Myan­mar in­ter­ca­lated year (in which a 13th month is in­serted), Lent will start be­fore July 2017.

Bud­dhists have a be­lief that it is not good to hold a wed­ding cer­e­mony, start a new house­hold or move into a new abode dur­ing the three-month Len­ten pe­riod. To Zin Mar Soe, this is a big hur­dle.

“First of all, we were plan­ning to get mar­ried this year. But due to some rea­sons, we had to post­pone the wed­ding day to next year. Now I’m to­tally per­plexed, as I do not know how to pro­ceed with our plans. Both of us have picked the an­niver­sary date of be­com­ing lovers to get mar­ried. I don’t know how to re­ar­range it now. Our par­ents will not agree if we choose our wed­ding day dur­ing Lent. If some prob­lems oc­cur in our fu­ture mar­ried life, they will al­ways be chid­ing us for choos­ing the wrong day for our wed­ding,” Zin Mar Soe said.

Htay Htay, who runs a busi­ness, ran into a dif­fer­ent prob­lem. She wanted to be mar­ried be­fore May when she cel­e­brated her 30th birth­day. Ac­cord­ing to the ad­vice of an as­trologer, she had to do so be­fore reach­ing 30. But due to un­avoid­able cir­cum­stances, she had to post­pone the date to De­cem­ber.

“I had planned to have my wed­ding be­fore I com­pleted my 30th birth­day, be­cause I be­lieve that all good things would hap­pen if I did so and I would have to face all kind of trou­bles if I didn’t. But there were some is­sues and I had to resched­ule my wed­ding date. I could have hastily got mar­ried in May, but it would have been so dis­or­gan­ised and so I fi­nally de­cided to de­lay it,” she said.

In­creas­ingly, it ap­pears, cul­ture and be­liefs are clash­ing with what the young de­sire. Ro­mance fig­ures high on the list of young cou­ples who choose to wed on Valen­tine’s Day or some other sig­nif­i­cant day in their lives, like Zin Mar Soe.

“Pre­vi­ously, most peo­ple used to choose a Satur­day or Sun­day first. Then they would look whether that week­end falls on an aus­pi­cious day or not. But nowa­days, some cou­ples just se­lect a mile­stone date in their lives, like the date they first met, with­out check­ing out if it’s pro­pi­tious or not,” Ma Khin La Pyae Wunn, man­ager for wed­ding ar­range­ments at Sum­mit Parkview Ho­tel, said.

She added that most wed­dings oc­cur in Oc­to­ber and Novem­ber af­ter the end of the Bud­dhist Len­ten pe­riod. The next most pop­u­lar month would be Fe­bru­ary, fol­lowed by May. With very few ex­cep­tions, most Bud­dhists shy away from get­ting mar­ried dur­ing Lent.

Be­sides choos­ing their wed­ding day, cou­ples also have a hard time se­lect­ing food and ca­ter­ing ser­vices for the day. Most try to be prac­ti­cal, choos­ing wed­ding halls that would have suf­fi­cient car park­ing space and lo­ca­tions con­ve­nient for their guests, said Khin La Pyae Wunn, a wed­ding plan­ner with over 20 years of ex­pe­ri­ence.

“Novem­ber, De­cem­ber, Fe­bru­ary and May are the most cel­e­brated wed­ding months. May comes be­fore the Bud­dhist Lent be­gins. Once the Lent is over, Bud­dhist light­ing fes­ti­vals – Thad­ingyut and Taza­ung­daing – fall usu­ally in Novem­ber. De­cem­ber is al­ways a favourable month for cel­e­bra­tions while Fe­bru­ary is con­sid­ered the most ro­man­tic be­cause of Valen­tine’s Day,” said Treza, Cha­trium Ho­tel’s mar­ket­ing and com­mu­ni­ca­tion deputy di­rec­tor.

“Some youths nowa­days do not bother con­sult­ing as­trologers to se­lect aus­pi­cious days, though some still do so. In ex­cep­tional cases, some cou­ples would choose dates that cel­e­brate their ideal per­sons, coun­tries or in­ter­na­tional ob­ser­vances. Choos­ing their an­niver­sary date of their first love is still a pop­u­lar choice,” Treza added.

Cou­ples plan­ning to marry in Yan­gon have to book a hall at their favourite ho­tel at least six to eight months in ad­vance. Prices dif­fer ac­cord­ing to pack­ages and with each ho­tel. A hall, ser­vices and food can cost from K5000 to K40,000 per head, with ho­tels re­quir­ing the min­i­mum num­ber of guests in order to make reser­va­tions.

Cou­ples who can af­ford it also spend on what comes af­ter­ward, mean­ing set­ting up their new home and fur­nish­ing it. The tra­di­tion of hav­ing a well-dec­o­rated wed­ding bed is still alive, ac­cord­ing to Casabella Home Fur­nish­ing Cen­ter mar­ket­ing man­ager Austin.

He said that de­pend­ing on qual­ity, home and bed­room fur­ni­ture and ac­ces­sories can cost any­thing from K1 mil­lion. Peo­ple have to order at least six months in ad­vance to get what they de­sire. Th­ese days, new­ly­weds place spe­cial em­pha­sis on their wed­ding bed, and prices for that can be be­tween K10 mil­lion and K20 mil­lion, he added.

Trans­la­tion by Emoon

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