Monday, September 20, 2010

Kayan Marriage

Early 1980, the Kayan marry very early, almost invariably in their teens. Marriage can be brought about in three ways

a couple of Lahwi

1. by arrangement between the parents
2. by arrangement between the parties(couple)
3. by the service of their unties, uncles or a person who go between(pra pao ba).
Period to 1960, marriages arrange by parents or by a go between are common. Marriage was arranged by a go between when two parties were not from the same village. Most of girls and boys get to know each other at festival.

There was no dating, not cuddling and no kissing. The love making is quite formal, in appearance at any rate. It is done in the gloaming, to hour called lads-go-courting time. The youth comes to the girl house with his friends. They brought their old tradition guitar and sang songs. The girl then entertained them with kayan tradition wine which is drunk with a straw. There is no individual straw. All used the same straw to drink wine. When a boy ask girl to marry him, usually the girl tell him to talk with her parents. After the parents of boy know the relationship or the situation between their children, they pay a formal visit to the girl house and talk about the relationship between their children with the parents of girl and if the parents of girl accept, marriage is arranged.

Bride price is usually some hundred of silver coins, cows, pigs and many pots of wine. Kayan get marriage in the church since 1900. Buddhist Kayan and Kan Kwan get marriage in front of Monk, Pagoda or elders. Kayan do not marry for money, they marry to have children. The common blessing from elders is “may God bless you and have many children”. Divorce is very rare. Average number of children in a family is six. Some have children up to 18. Polygamy is not allowed and incest is strongly prohibited.

No one should marry his/her uncles of unties as well as their niece or nephew because they are not from the same line. In kayan it is called swebo or swe co dawn. The forbidding of getting marriage of swebo has troubled many couples to Kayan lovers. Those who committed these prohibiting will have to get out from the village. They are rejected from the village.

Kayan do not called their wives honey, baby or sweetheart but they called their wives Mao ru or Mao Pra mean dirty woman and old woman. The kayan women also call their husbands Pa ru or Pa Pra which mean dirty Man and Old man. But these calling is a kind of sweet expression that kayan married couple like to call each other.

Kayan do not divorce easily but love each other faithfully. They keep their promise of marriage forever.

1 comment:

  1. The girls dress up to get the male attention. That tell as the young couple find each other. In some tribes they do not know each other but they do not preen, and they are often unfaithful.

    A poor young man have any way to pay the bride price. And have need of help from parents (or unties, uncles or a person who go between, who as have the bride price.)

    I think as the three ways are one way.