Tuesday, April 15, 2014

M is for Marriage

I remember being shocked when I learned that the words for 'to marry' and 'to take' were the same, particularity because the traditional marriage (which sometimes still occurs in the rural areas) is when a man (or boy) kidnaps a girl for the sake of the rite. The criteria for a good wife in a case like this is that she's pretty.

Dani almost had this happen to her when she was twelve by a high school student.

While the concept of marriage is one that's changing very rapidly here, many ceremonies are now held for love as opposed to being arranged or forced, the idea of a virgin bride is still very strong. Strong enough that it's not unheard of for a man to force himself on a woman and to force her to marry him. Or for a couple in love to whose parents don't approve of the match to consummate the marriage before a ceremony to force the parents to agree to it.

Keep in mind, that many girls in these situations are still that – girls. As in minors. Child marriages, willing or unwilling, are common as are teachers taking their students as wives. Dani's brother got married last summer to his sixteen year old student. Her nephew hide out on our compound with his wife from her father who didn't approve of the pairing. She's an eight grade student who insisted she loved her husband and would rather stay home and take care of him and future children rather than continue school.

Situations likes these grate me, doubly because I don't like them and can't do anything about them. They are so ingrained into the culture and supported by multiple forces that I'm happy Dani's new niece-in-law is in the marriage willing, even if I think she's way to young.
At weddings, the couple are escorted by party goers clapping and 'lalala' made by doing something with your tongue I can't.


Sean @ His And Her Hobbies said...

I didn't realize that sort of thing still occurred. I knew arranged marriages still occurred in places like India but I thought that was about it.

Sean at His and Her Hobbies

Corinne said...

That's a pretty sad tale. It's hard to argue with thousands of years of tradition, but too young is too young!

A Tarkabarka Hölgy said...

Kidnapping a bride exists/existed in Europe too. Hungary still has it, but only as a light-hearted ritual during a wedding.
Child brides are a serious issue, though.

@TarkabarkaHolgy from
Multicolored Diary - Tales of colors
MopDog - The crazy thing about Hungarians...

Anonymous said...

Heart rending and hopefully something which will start to change.

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