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Thai Weddings. Jamie Kollar & John Stephens October 18, 2011. Wedding Customs. Sin Sod (Dowry). The groom is expected to pay a dowry to the bride’s family.

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thai weddings
Thai Weddings

Jamie Kollar & John Stephens

October 18, 2011

sin sod dowry
Sin Sod (Dowry)
  • The groom is expected to pay a dowry to the bride’s family.
  • This is both a repayment for the bride’s upbringing (“paying for the mother’s milk”) and a demonstration that he will be able to care for her financially.
  • While it is negotiated and agreed on beforehand, the actual payment occurs on the day of the wedding.
  • In some cases, the bride’s family may return the amount of the sin sod as a wedding gift to the couple.
buddhist blessing
Buddhist blessing
  • On the morning of the wedding, Buddhist monks (traditionally an odd number) are invited to the couple’s home to bless them before their marriage.
  • The monks recite scriptural passages over the couple; then, the couple offer food to the monks and present them with gifts (known as “making merit”).
  • After the blessing, the monks return to their temple, and do not take part in the marriage ceremony itself.
khan maak procession
Khan MaakProcession
  • The groom and his family then walk to the bride’s home, bringing gifts for her family, in what is called the Khan MaakProcession.
  • The groom must pass through several gates, guarded by female members of the bride’s family, before he reaches the bride. At each gate, he has to pay the gatekeeper to be allowed through.
  • When they reach the house, the groom’s family presents the bride’s family with gifts, including the dowry payment. They also lay out food for their ancestors.
wedding ceremony
Wedding Ceremony
  • SaiMonkhon: A senior elder uses specially prepared white thread to link the bride and groom’s heads (symbolizing that they remain individuals, but their destinies are linked). He pours sacred water over their hands to bless them.
  • Rod Nam Sang: Each guest blesses the couple by pouring holy water from a conch shell over their hands, and presents them with a gift.
  • PhitiBai Sri Su Kwan: The newlyweds are blessed by an elder, and white threads soaked in holy water are tied around their wrists. These threads are pulled until they break, and traditionally, whoever has the longest piece is the one whose love is deepest.
  • Sai Sin: Guests tie white strings around the couple’s wrists, symbolic of good luck.
our focus
Our Focus
  • We focused on electronic resources, primarily those available to the average researcher.
  • For the most part, our listed resources can be found through Google.
  • Although we did include one more scholarly article for balance, since it’s difficult to get the woman’s perspective on Thai-Western marriage otherwise.
quantity of information
Quantity of Information
  • There are quite a few detailed pages that are easily found.
  • However, there is not much variety in terms of information. For the most part, the sites present the exact same information, just with slightly different wording.
  • The search also tends to devolve into marriage agencies after a page or two.
quality of information
Quality of Information
  • Factually, the information is pretty solid; information about specific traditions and practices is consistent from site to site. Most sites have decent coverage of cultural and traditional aspects of marriage.
  • However, the majority of sites are not particularly in-depth, and are obviously geared toward Western readers.
  • There are also a fair number of somewhat fetishistic, genuinely creepy sites to sift through (although their factual information does tend to be accurate).
  • And then there are the marriage agencies. Loads of them.
problems encountered
Problems Encountered
  • Underlying attitude of cultural tourism.
    • Most sites are created by Westerners, for Westerners. The Thai perspective is more difficult (but not impossible) to find.
    • Websites tend to exoticize Thai culture, often trying to sell Westerners on the idea of an exotic destination wedding.
  • Fetishism and marriage agencies.
    • Many sites are aimed specifically at Western men looking to meet Thai women on the internet, marry them, and bring them to America.
    • Marriage agencies are also common, often appearing on the first page of a Google search. Many of them are, once again, aimed specifically at Western men seeking Thai brides.
  • Compare information across sources to make sure that facts are consistent and accurate.
  • In this particular case, all of the sites contain the same information with very little variation or room for error.
bias agenda
Bias & Agenda
  • Cultural tourism attitude is common (very few sites about Thai marriage by Thai people).
  • Many sites are aimed at American men who’ve met Thai women online and are now going to Thailand to marry them. The general atmosphere of these sites is fairly creepy and fetishistic.
  • Also a high incidence of marriage agencies in Google search results (two on the first page of results).
  • On this subject, it’s very important to be aware of any given site’s potential agenda, and to take that into account.