"marriage means a deep love of a man and a woman.
They can feel for each other and they are ready to live together as husband and wife."
Tradition of marriage has been highly important for Thai lifestyles and cultures. It indicates maturity of persons who are getting married, with more responsibilities and are ready to have a family. They must be responsible for more lives they would create and must act as a leader of the family. In writer's opinion, marriage means a deep love of a man and a woman. They can feel for each other and they are ready to live together as husband and wife. So they have to get married. In other way, it can be said that getting married can cure sexual desire of human. To follow the social practice, their guardian must be acknowledged. With the social reasons, the Thai tradition of wedding is essential. The ceremony starts from the approach, then engagement, and finally the wedding. To be ceremonious, the ritual must be performed in the morning. The registration for marriage license must be carried out to make the wedding completed. The ceremony for dashing holy water and blessing is performed in the evening, at the same time as the welcome banquet for guests afterwards. To be economic, these activities can all be carried out in the morning, The welcome banquet can be hold at home, hotels, or clubs, depending on financial capability of the host.
The ritual wedding is important and appropriate because it represents prosperity of cultures and spirits of the society resulted from delicate mind of the perceptive Thai ancestors. Creatures naturally posses sexual desire and need to breed. Therefore, the difference between human and animals has to be made. At the same time, to suite Thai cultures and obey the law, the conditions for persons who are getting married are necessary.
Auspiciousness For the happiness and prosperity of bride and groom, The auspiciousness for the wedding is necessary. Relatives on both sides will take date and time of birth of bride and groom to the astrologer to find the appropriate auspiciousness and to foresee whether bride and groom suited to live together in happiness and prosperity. If so, the astrologer would select an auspicious time for the wedding. Most selected times are in the even months (2, 4,6 etc.). The word "even" is pronounced in Thai language as "Khu", which means "a couple or a mate". So the purpose of getting married in even month (or Khu month) is to wish both bride and groom would be living together forever. This does not include the 12th month because, in Thai belief, this month is the month for dogs to breed. The presence of the moon is also involved with this belief of auspiciousness. The waxing moon (the period from new moon to full moon), representing brightness and prosperity, is regarded better than the waning moon (the period from full moon to new moon), representing darkness. Sometimes the 9th month is selected because the "9", pronounced in Thai language as "Kao" meaning stepping ahead, represents prosperity. The most favorite month is the 6th month because it is the beginning of rainy season. The atmosphere is so perfect to be close to each other. Also, at this time, Thai people begin to practice agriculture. A newly married couple can build up their new family together.
Preparation for the settlement demand The settlement is essential for the marriage. The groom's parent must prepare the settlement and bring to the bride's home in the morning and at the selected auspicious time. However, the time for the parade of the settlement is not strict nowadays. Normally, people choose a time that is convenient for them. The settlement is consisted of ;
On the wedding day, the groom and his mates lead the parade of wedding settlements to the bride’s house. The bride’s relatives traditionally bar the path for 4 times. Two barriers represent golden gates, whereas the other two represent the silver gates.. Two barriers may be generally accepted. Golden necklace or silver belts are used to represent the barriers. The groom is traditionally greeted and questioned before he is allowed to pass each barrier. At the last barrier, just before entering or stepping into the house, there are two girls awaiting to traditionally sprinkle water to the groom’s feet. The groom is supposed to pay money to persons who form the barrier. The traditional sprinkling water to the groom’s feet is the last stage of the wedding settlement parade. Inside the bride’s house, it is an acceptance ceremony for the wedding settlement. The bride is traditionally supposed to pay the persons, who carry the primary and secondary settlement. Generally, it is emphasized in paying for the primary
The ceremony of sprinkle water This ceremony can be proceeded in various ways, regarding the hosts' convenience. The ceremony for sprinkle water is proceeded in the morning just after the ritual ceremony. Only respectful senior relatives are first invited, then the guests. The ceremony can be proceeded in the evening, regarding the guests' convenience. This concern is thoughtful because there are more traffic problems for people living in Bangkok than those living in provinces. Bride and groom should be at the ceremony well before the appointed time.
There must be an altar at the ceremony, for auspicious reasons. The altar is normally on the right of the groom. At the appointed auspicious time, the bride and groom would go into the ritual room together with 2 bride mates and 2 groom mates. After paying respect to the altar, the bride and groom would be sitting at a prepared bench, then place their arms on pillows and stretch their hands towards pedestals. The bride sits on the left and the groom sits on the right. The head of the ceremony wears each one a necklace of flowers and a pair of garland, then, anoints their foreheads, and sprinkle holy water on their hands. The guests were then invited to sprinkle holy water, starting from the most senior. After the ceremony of sprinkle water, the hosts can take off garland by themselves or invite the head of the ceremony to take it off for them. The bride and groom will kept this garland at their bed's head. Then there is a thanking party for guests. This concludes the wedding ceremony. They wait for the auspicious time to present the bride to the groom, as tradition. The senior relatives preach the bride to take care, to respect, and to be loyal to her husband. Then they bring the bride to the groom and preach the groom to love, to take care, to be loyal, and to treat his wife as a good husband. The bride and groom then pay obeisance to their senior relatives. Their parents could give them another homily. The groom would pay obeisance to both side parents. This concludes the marriage ceremony. Everybody then leaves the bride and groom's room in order to let them rest after having been through a tiring day.
The end of marriage The marriage ends when one party dies or there is a divorce. The reasons that can be excuses for getting divorce are;
There are always problems in most family, more or less depending on the situation of that family. The incident of divorce can only happen when spouses lack of understanding and endurance, or they are committing adultery, or the relationship is interfered by the third party, or their estrangement, living together for months without sexual relationship as husband and wife, these incidents can all cause a divorce. In the present society, the unbalanced sexual relationship causes a lot of divorces. However, the spouse must try to keep their marriage status as long as possible to avoid to unwanted consequences, especially for the family and their children's mental health. With this reason, the tradition of marriage must be seriously taken to preserve and well studied in order to keep this culture to last forever. The family is the first unit in the society that can most effectively cultivate social believes, traditions, and cultures. So, before we are to create a new family, we need to understand that how many types of marriage how each type of marriage works because marriage is, as mentioned before, the way to create a family.
Types of marriage: several experts have acknowledged two types of marriage, namely, Wiwahamongkol and Awahamongkol. But since the Thai society and human's mind have changed as time goes by. Individual concerns only the profit for them, not the society. The consequence is selfishness, presently causing chaos in Thai society. In the writer's opinion, the additional type of marriage is that both people, without permission from their parents, flee to set their own family, so called Wiwahor (Wiwa = marriage, hor = flee). This type of marriage is widely conducted in Thai society at present, which is not appropriated because it does not follow our exquisite Thai culture.
Translator : Aketawan Manowongsa
24 Nov 2000