Asian culture has always been unique and is well-known for having some of the most beautiful traditions of any continent. The Indian culture, for example, is unique and there has always been a variety of ways in which people would find their future spouses. A majority of Indians found that arranged marriages were the way to go when thinking about finding someone to spend their life with. However, while this was the case across many Asian countries, changing times have altered tradition and twisted them to fit with our modern values while still holding onto that all-important cultural tradition. Here, we’re exploring a brief history of the Asian wedding.
Since the Iron Age, there has been a number of ways people would meet or come together to get married. The most popular marriage has always been arranged within Asian wedding tradition – this happens when the family of the bride and groom decide that they are now ready to enter a marriage. Once the decision has been made, the parents speak to friends, family and neighbours to try and find them a suitable match. As well as simply asking friends and family, some families were known to seek the help of a matchmaker. A matchmaker was traditionally someone who kept a database of sorts that was full of information on the local men and women who were of an age or maturity to enter marriage. This would ultimately help them to find suitable matches with the information on hand. After a match has been established the next stage is for the parents and grandparents of the intended bride or groom meet with the family of the potential spouse. This meeting allows the families to judge each other’s financial situations and cultural background.
Arranged marriage is still extremely popular even in modern culture; however as times have changed, this tradition has also adapted. While there is scepticism around the tradition, it has also come to modernise itself, with more online matchmaking websites available as opposed to traditional matchmakers. It’s not just the way that they search for spouses that’s changed, however – in fact, the criteria of what they look for has evolved. For example a key factor used to be a women’s ability to cook, clean and look after the house and children, however nowadays women that are working or willing to work and contribute to bringing income home are preferred. Furthermore, the bride and groom to be are now allowed more freedom with the amount that they speak and see each other prior to the marriage; They can sometimes wait for a year or more before the wedding!
What makes a suitable match?
When it comes to choosing a suitable match, there are countless things that different families will look for depending on priority. Alternatively, the points below can also apply to some single men or women seeking out their own spouse as opposed to opting for the arranged marriage route:
The most important thing families will look for is another family with the same religion as their own. The reason being for this is that each religion has very vast differences when it comes to rituals and customs, particularly where marriage is concerned. Families with the same religion are more likely to pass this down through the family, which is extremely important to some more traditional families.
The cultural background of families can include anything from education to job title. Similarities and ‘having things in common’ is important in most marriages nowadays, so this custom is a pretty understandable one! Families who are seen as conventional are less likely to mix with families who are easy-going and open minded, at least as far as arranged marriages are concerned.
Horoscopes are also considered very important and can often be used to seal the deal. Horoscopes are meant to foresee a person’s future based on the position of stars and planets on the day of the person’s birth. However, when it comes to weddings, they look at the sun, moon, and star alignments on the arranged day of the marriage so they can check to see if the couple are suitable. If there are any negative effects that the horoscope is predicting, the priest that is present will help heal these affects with their own remedies.
Like with every relationship, appearance can often be taken into account. Within the Indian culture, it can be found that women who have light skin tones or those who’s skin is considerably darker aren’t seen as being “as good as” those with the ‘traditional’ skin colour. The bride’s appearance is traditionally deemed more important than the groom’s, however it is still important that they convey themselves in the best possible manner. This tradition is one that is beginning to change with modern customs and trends, however, though genetic quality could still be taken into account for future children.
Asian marriage hasn’t changed much throughout history, but it has evolved with current trends. Arranged marriage can be put in the spot light as being unfair and sexist, however, nowadays it is much more clearly an arranged marriage rather than forced. Religion and culture plays a massive part in Asian lifestyles but with roughly only 1 in 100 arranged marriages not working out, the success rate speaks for itself. What do you think?