Bangladesh Adventures

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Engagement and Pre-Arranged Weddings

On Boxer Day, 26 December we had an engagement party for Nita’s Uncle’s Daughter, Rolu. It was a fun affair with a band (loud) and food for everybody involved. The boy is from Noakhali. What makes this so special to you is this was the first time they had ever met. This is an arranged marriage by the parents. The engagement party was the first time the girl and groom-to-be met. After the initial ceremonies and business of negotiations over saris, gold and TV set were over the girl and boy sat beside each other for the first time for snacks. Rolu is 20 years old and the boy is 30 years old. I was amazed as they sat there talking and giggling. I was thinking of my two nephews, both have engagement and marriage in the near future. They know their betroth so well already- they both have been dating the same girls for 4 and 3 years respectively- they have spoke thousands of words to each other- in person, over the phone, over the internet. But here was a guy and gal meeting for the first time and will be married in one month. It was blessed!

I’m a firm believer that arranged marriages and love marriages (that’s what we have in the west) have the same success rate. After eating snacks, the groom and bride-to-be went to the church to sign some official documents cementing the engagement and setting the wedding date. Nita went along and was a witness to everything; and even had to sign her name.

Different cultures- different practices. Makes you think.

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