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A land of plenty … in wedding traditions too
Many young couples are still ready to go through a sometimes rigorous process, from finding a suitable life
partner to the day the marriage is solemnised by elders in a lengthy ceremony. Some have it a lot easier …
Maung Thway Thit

E

very race has its own culture and
traditions. Likewise, Myanmar’s many
different ethnic races – officially 135
in all – have theirs when a man and
woman want to become husband and wife.
The main objective of a wedding ceremony
here is to formally announce they are to
become one but it requires a lot of effort to get
there, especially if tradition is observed. The
family too must play a part in it.
According to tradition, there are five duties
that Myanmar parents have to perform for
their children: prohibit them from doing evil
things; advise them to do good deeds; educate
them; after that, support them with capital
investment; and arrange a marriage for them.
Therefore, as one of the five parental duties,
Myanmar parents must organise a wedding
for their children when they are old enough to
marry, for which there are rules to observe.
According to Section 211 of the Fourth
Volume of Manusara code of law, “parents can
arrange a marriage for their children who are
already 16 years old”. Furthermore, the Sixth
Volume of Manu code of law mentions, “Women
under 20 are not allowed to marry on their
own will, but their marriage has to be formally
arranged by their parents or guardian.”
In addition, Section 124 of the Sixth Volume
of Manu code of law says, “parents can arrange
marriage for their daughters when they reach
the age of 16, and if a suitable bridegroom is
available, parents have the right to arrange
marriage for their daughters till they attain the
age of 20”. This means that once a daughter is
20, she is free to choose her own husband.
Before a wedding ceremony, families in
Myanmar make it a point not to miss one
custom: both the bride-to-be and bridegroomto-be consult an astrologer for an auspicious
day and time to be married. They also check
whether they are compatible as life-long
partners based on their birthdays. It’s a
common belief that if the partnership is not
well matched, the marriage will not survive, or
that there won’t be any progress or happiness.
According to tradition, those born on
Sunday and Friday are compatible; likewise,
Tuesday and Thursday, Saturday and
Wednesday. Sunday and Wednesday evening
are also well-suited. It’s believed their marriage
will last and they will have a long life together.
But those born on Saturday and Thursday do
not make good partners. Likewise, Friday and

Photo: Aung Htay Hlaing
Monday, Sunday and Wednesday, and Wednesday
evening and Tuesday are not compatible. Their
marriages will not last and they will have short
lives, it is believed.
However, it’s not absolute and there’s no need
to panic if would-be partners fall into those
categories. To get past that, the astrologer can
perform yadaya (a ritual to avert misfortune)
and the mismatched couple can finally become
life partners.
There are many different traditional wedding
rites in Myanmar, some so simple, some very
elaborate, as outlined by 10 examples that follow:
1. Hanging the bridegroom’s longyi on the
clothesline
The bridegroom’s parents and relatives, along
with young people from the community, visit the
home of the bride with wedding presents, pots
to cook rice and curries, clothes, bedding, pillows
and livestock cattle. If the bridegroom’s family
is rich, wedding presents for the new couple
would include property and farmland ownership
documents.
These presents are handed to the bride’s
parents. During the ceremony, the bride remains
in her room out of shyness and, as is custom,
the bridegroom stays back in his home. For this
ceremony, the bridegroom’s entourage has to bring
a new longyi. The bride’s side has to arrange a
separate room for the new couple at their home.
Once the bridegroom’s longyi is placed on the
clothesline in that room, the bridegroom and bride
become husband and wife.
2. Having meals from the same dish
A wedding reception is held by inviting friends
and neighbours in the community. Then the bride
and bridegroom are made to have meals, such as
sticky rice, pickled tea leaves or other snacks from
the same dish together. They then are proclaimed
husband and wife.
3. Exchanging of rings
During the ceremony, the bride and bridegroom
exchange rings to formally get married.

4. Making the bridegroom change into
new clothes
When the bridegroom arrives at the house of
the bride, her parents and relatives make him
have a bath to cleanse himself and then help
him change into new clothes. After that the couple
becomes husband and wife.
5. Placing the bridegroom’s palm upon the
bride’s
The most common marriage rite in Myanmar
is to have the bridegroom’s right palm placed
upon the bride’s right palm. The ceremony is
held at the home of the bride.
While distributing invitation cards for the
wedding ceremony, cheroots or pickled tea leaves
are also given as gifts. On the wedding day, it’s a
tradition for guests to give gifts to the newlyweds.
The bridegroom, his parents and relatives arrive
after all the guests have done so. The bridegroom
sits at the seat assigned for him. Then, the bride
and her relatives arrive, and she is made to sit to
the left of the bridegroom.
First, the couple pays obeisance to the Five
Infinite Venerables -- the Buddha, the Dhamma
(Teachings of the Buddha), the Sangha (community
of monks, nuns, novices following Buddha’s
Teachings), parents and teachers, and other elders.
Then, the person officiating the ceremony places
the right hands of the couple one on the other to
solemnise the marriage.
At the same time, garlands are hung around
the couple’s necks, rings are exchanged, water
sprinkled on their heads, and a length of cloth is
used to bind their hands, which are then dipped
into a water bowl.
Lastly, parents from either side, or an elderly
person representing the parents, give words of
advice to the couple. Then the ceremony comes
to a close with a loud chant: “May the wedding
ceremony be successful.”
6. Putting golden rings of string around
the necks of the bride and groom
During the ceremony, rings of gold or gold
alloy, about 5 feet in total, are hung around the
neck of the bride and groom.
7. Being swathed in a lengthy veil
In a simple ceremony, the couple is swathed in
a lengthy veil, shawl or cloth.
8. Hanging of garlands around the neck of
the couple
The placing of garlands around the necks
of the bride and the groom signifies that the
marriage has been solemnised.
9. Dipping hands in a silver bowl of water
The ceremony involves dipping the right
hands of the bride and the groom in a silver bowl

with water. That done, the couple becomes man
and wife.
10. Sprinkling drops of clear perfumed water
The key part of the ceremony involves the
sprinkling of clear perfumed water on the
heads of the bride and the groom.
Those are but a few examples. There are
many more marriage rites which are still
observed, especially by the many ethnic groups,
which are very interesting.
Reference: Marriage rites of different ethnic
races in Myanmar (Tekkatho Shin Thiri), Sabai
Oo publishing (1991)

Translation by Thiri Min Htun

Wedding 2016
About the cover photo
The cover photo was taken 70 years ago in
Pathein township, Ayeyarwady Region. In a
marriage pre-arranged by parents from both
sides, not a very unusual matter in those days,
the wedding couple got married in a ceremony
held at one of the township’s most famous
cinema halls.
Reminiscing about this milestone in her
life, the bride recounted that the wedding was
attended by the wealthy and the intellects
at that time and that it was quite grand. She
added that, unlike today where people would
give money as a wedding gift, guests brought
the newlyweds many sets of silver bowls and
Pathein umbrellas (famous throughout the
country and abroad) as gifts.
Nearing her 90s, she is surrounded by the
couple’s five children in Yangon, after her
husband passed away four years ago at the
age of 96. Both of them had witnessed the
country’s independence, the assassination
of Bogyoke Aung San, and the many ups
and downs in the country during their long
married life.
Staff writers Maung Thway Thit, Phyo Wai Kyaw, Khin
Su Wai, Le’ Phyu Pyar Myo Myint, Ei Nge, Ei Ei Thu,
Myint Kay Thi
Editors Myo Lwin, Hein Min Latt, Clovis Santiago
Sub editors P Vijian, Mya Kay Khine Soe
Photography Kaung Htet, Aung Htay Hlaing, Zarni
Phyo, Thiri Lu, Naing Wynn Htoon, Aung Myin Ye Zaw,
Aung Khant, Nyan Zay Htet
Cover Photo Supplied
Art Director Tin Zaw Htway
Layout Designer Khin Zaw
For feedback and enquiries, please contact
c.santiago@mmtimes.com

3

A stunning statement
from the past
The golden shawl, once virtually
forgotten, is now a treasured piece in
Myanmar wardrobes –
if one can afford it

A gold shawl produced by Aung Thamadi gold shop.  Photo: Phyo Wai Kyaw

Phyo Wai Kyaw

T

oday, it’s there for all to see, admire
and even crave. It was once shrouded
in mystery, the talk being that it was
what the royals of the past wore – a
shawl of gold.
When worn, it is a sight to behold, definitely
so to those in Myanmar who already possess one.
The golden shawl, or scarf, was recreated by Aung
Thamadi gold shop, which is now famous because of
it. The shawl is one of the most popular items among
gold enthusiasts.
Aung Thamadi’s Phyu Phyu Aung said they only
began to think of designing one when a customer
wanted to wear one to a donation ceremony. And they
had no idea how to do it.
“We had heard that gold shawls were used by
[women] in dynasties past, but no one made them
any more,” said Phyu Phyu Aung. So they started
from scratch in 2009. There was no sample on which
to base the project. What they knew was it would
take a lot of time and money. They began by hiring a
professional goldsmith for more than the market rate
at the time, more in hope than anything else.
“Hopes of success were almost nil,” said Phyu
Phyu Aung, adding however that Aung Thamadi
nevertheless believed that if the project was
successful, buyers would “appreciate the creativity
and skill that turned the gold into a fabric-like
material that could be worn”.
They also believed in themselves. To their
advantage, Aung Thamadi already had a reputation
for innovation in their trade and for pleasing
customers. In the end, it was an instant hit.
“The gold shawl was designed with the
customer’s satisfaction in mind. The result was
fantastic and it got a lot of attention. People
became more fascinated with it when it was
advertised and the Aung Thamadi brand became
associated with the gold shawl. It was so successful

that people started exchanging gold bullion for
gold shawls,” Phyu Phyu Aung said.
The first shawl required about 80 ticals (1306
grams) of gold, but now customers can have one
made starting from 25 ticals (408g) as several designs
are available.
“Gold shawls are now produced in unique designs
according to modern times. We now have shoulderlength gold shawls, lengthier ones that hang down
from both sides of the shoulder, or triangular ones
that we have designed according to customer
preference. One good point of the gold shawl is that
its whole mass does not rest on one spot on the
shoulders. Instead, it spreads its weight around and
balances itself. It is comfortable to wear and can be
kept folded,” Phyu Phyu Aung said.
What should be even more interesting to would-be
buyers is that the handmade shawls don’t lose value
over time. In any case, hardly anyone is interested in
selling once they have one.
A shoulder-length piece would require 25-30 ticals
(408-490g) of gold, a lengthier one 35-50 ticals (572
-816g), and a triangular one 30-40 ticals (490-653g).
Orders must be made one to two weeks before the
required delivery date.
Women buy the shawls mostly to wear to donation
ceremonies and to weddings too, though not by the
brides. These days they have greater choice because
Aung Thamadi now also has Italian-designed white
gold shawls which sell for between K30 and K40
million.
To Phyu Phyu Aung, flaunting that golden
possession is not the reason why one should have
one. “You need the right occasion to wear it. Shawls
were part of the royal wardrobe of queens in the past
because they were supposed to be virtuous.”
Some of the women of today might not pay much
attention to those sentiments but it’s very likely many
would agree with Phyu Phyu Aung’s final words on it:
“You will not want to sell it, once you buy one.”
Translation by San Layy

4

Oh yes, there’s the stress
Romance is all well and good, but when it comes to getting those wedding plans right, young
Myanmar couples sometimes find that all is not as rosy as it seems
staff WRITERS

A

nyone who has gone
through it knows that
weddings can be a
trial, especially for the
ones most involved, the couple. In
Myanmar, even setting the date can
become quite a complicated affair.
Just ask Zin Mar Soe and Htay Htay,
who are at their wits’ end about
what they have to do to marry their
partners. And it has to do with
culture and beliefs.
Zin Mar Soe is worried she won’t
be able to get married in 2017 to
her boyfriend of five years, and not
because of any rift between them.
She wishes to get married during the
first week of July to commemorate
the day they fell in love – and that’s
the issue. Unfortunately, according to
the Myanmar calendar, next July falls
within the Buddhist Lenten period.
Usually that is not so, but since
2017 coincides with the Myanmar
intercalated year (in which a 13th
month is inserted), Lent will start
before July 2017.
Buddhists have a belief that
it is not good to hold a wedding
ceremony, start a new household or

move into a new abode during the
three-month Lenten period. To Zin
Mar Soe, this is a big hurdle.
“First of all, we were planning
to get married this year. But due to
some reasons, we had to postpone
the wedding day to next year. Now
I’m totally perplexed, as I do not
know how to proceed with our
plans. Both of us have picked the
anniversary date of becoming lovers
to get married. I don’t know how to
rearrange it now. Our parents will
not agree if we choose our wedding
day during Lent. If some problems
occur in our future married life,
they will always be chiding us for
choosing the wrong day for our
wedding,” Zin Mar Soe said.
Htay Htay, who runs a business,
ran into a different problem. She
wanted to be married before May
when she celebrated her 30th
birthday. According to the advice of
an astrologer, she had to do so before
reaching 30. But due to unavoidable
circumstances, she had to postpone
the date to December.
“I had planned to have my wedding
before I completed my 30th birthday,
because I believe that all good things
would happen if I did so and I would

have to face all kind of troubles if I
didn’t. But there were some issues and
I had to reschedule my wedding date. I
could have hastily got married in May,
but it would have been so disorganised
and so I finally decided to delay it,”
she said.
Increasingly, it appears, culture
and beliefs are clashing with what
the young desire. Romance figures
high on the list of young couples who
choose to wed on Valentine’s Day or
some other significant day in their
lives, like Zin Mar Soe.
“Previously, most people used to
choose a Saturday or Sunday first.
Then they would look whether that
weekend falls on an auspicious day or
not. But nowadays, some couples just
select a milestone date in their lives,
like the date they first met, without
checking out if it’s propitious or not,”
Ma Khin La Pyae Wunn, manager for
wedding arrangements at Summit
Parkview Hotel, said.
She added that most weddings
occur in October and November
after the end of the Buddhist Lenten
period. The next most popular
month would be February, followed
by May. With very few exceptions,
most Buddhists shy away from

getting married during Lent.
Besides choosing their wedding
day, couples also have a hard time
selecting food and catering services
for the day. Most try to be practical,
choosing wedding halls that would
have sufficient car parking space
and locations convenient for their
guests, said Khin La Pyae Wunn, a
wedding planner with over 20 years
of experience.
“November, December, February
and May are the most celebrated
wedding months. May comes
before the Buddhist Lent begins.
Once the Lent is over, Buddhist
lighting festivals – Thadingyut
and Tazaungdaing – fall usually in
November. December is always a
favourable month for celebrations
while February is considered the
most romantic because of Valentine’s
Day,” said Treza, Chatrium Hotel’s
marketing and communication
deputy director.
“Some youths nowadays do
not bother consulting astrologers
to select auspicious days, though
some still do so. In exceptional
cases, some couples would choose
dates that celebrate their ideal
persons, countries or international

observances. Choosing their
anniversary date of their first love is
still a popular choice,” Treza added.
Couples planning to marry in
Yangon have to book a hall at their
favourite hotel at least six to eight
months in advance. Prices differ
according to packages and with
each hotel. A hall, services and food
can cost from K5000 to K40,000
per head, with hotels requiring the
minimum number of guests in order
to make reservations.
Couples who can afford it also
spend on what comes afterward,
meaning setting up their new home
and furnishing it. The tradition of
having a well-decorated wedding bed
is still alive, according to Casabella
Home Furnishing Center marketing
manager Austin.
He said that depending on quality,
home and bedroom furniture and
accessories can cost anything from
K1 million. People have to order
at least six months in advance to
get what they desire. These days,
newlyweds place special emphasis
on their wedding bed, and prices for
that can be between K10 million and
K20 million, he added.
Translation by Emoon

To each his own
in Mandalay
Khin Su Wai

C

ouples planning to marry once the monsoon Lenten period
is over need to plan well in advance where to hold their
weddings and receptions and to keep within budget. Those
who properly prepare for the big day would certainly make
life easier for themselves before, during and after the event.
Here are some tips on how to get it done in Mandalay, and the costs
and services involved. Some hotels even accept bookings four or five days
before the event, but that would fall under the term “rush job” rather than
proper planning. That does happen in Mandalay at times.
And even if planned beforehand, things can still go awry. For instance,
one hotelier remembers when a bride and groom had planned on having
300 hundred guests and 900 turned up.
Each hotel seems to have its own set of rules too. Some allow couples
to bring in their own caterers, others don’t. And one that does allow
catering, doesn’t allow ice cream to be included in a couple’s menu … for
good reason.
The main tip: couples should carefully check what each hotel offers to
see what best fits their wedding plans.

Hotel Hazel

According to Hotel Hazel’s operations director Harry Lee, “Costs would
vary on how much a wedding couple can afford and we try to give them a
reasonable price. We give them services comparable to what they spend.
“The rental charges for a wedding hall would cost K800,000 for the
whole day and K400,000 for half a day. Three kinds of snacks would
cost K4500 per head. Outside tents built in advance, for those who wish
to have a grand wedding, would cost K300,000 for half a day. There are
some extra charges for power supply. This is the same everywhere. There
is a one-night stay Honeymoon Set-up with small [romantic] details
[included in the package].
“The advantages at our hotel include an array of fine quality snacks
and services. Couples are already reserving wedding halls for November
and December. K100,000 is adequate to reserve a K400,000 hall.”

Hotel Mandalay

Yi Yi Lwin from Hotel Mandalay’s sales and marketing department said,
“Expenses for Myanmar and Chinese weddings are different. Chinese
weddings mostly give an order for curries. Whereas the rental cost for
Myanmar weddings is K600,000 for three hours, for Chinese it costs
K250,000 [during the day] and K300,000 [night].
“The hotel does not allow food to be catered from outside. There are
49 tables that can fit 10 guests each. Food menus vary from K85,000 to
K130,000 depending on your order.
“It’s always wise to order one or two weeks in advance to ensure
everything turns out fine when the big day gets closer. Sometimes, we give
additional services, depending on a guest’s request. In the past, we would
collect service fees for decorations, projector, electricity and a band,
but now they are all included in the rental fees. Bonus items include a
wedding cake and three floral pots. The hotel provides a complimentary
one-night stay for the couple.”

Utopia Hotel

“The hotel and Nylon Ice Cream Co have the same owner, and although
wedding couples can order whatever they like from outside, they cannot
include ice cream. Couples can also check out our snacks kitchen. The
hotel has halls on the ground floor and upstairs. Rates are K550,000 for
the former and K400,000 for the latter,” Utopia’s manager Kyaw Myint
said.
“The rental schedule is fixed from 8am to 11am, 2pm to 5pm and
5pm to 8pm. There is a regular band that can be hired for K100,000.
Additional charges for playing cassette music and electricity usage are
K20,000. There are no Chinese weddings here, only Myanmar and Indian.
If you want to serve biryani and chicken rice for your guests, it would cost
K100,000. You need to make reservations for the wedding, and we already
have reservations for 2017,” he added.

Great Wall Hotel

“We charge K500,000 for three hours. You can make reservations with us
just four or five days in advance,” said Great Wall Hotel manager Zaw Min
Lay. “Food is coordinated with SP Bakery, and we don’t accept any other
outside food service. Four varieties of cake, ice cream and pickled tea cost
K3000 per head and five kinds of dim sum and ice-cream cost K4000.
“Although the hall accommodates 300, there was one occasion when
900 guests turned up, but this is not surprising if you take our Mandalay
tradition into account.
“Hall payment includes charges for background decoration and floral
services. We place flower pots at all important locations as well as on the
guests’ tables. You can hire your own band, but K50,000 will be charged
for the electricity. Couples who rent the hall can stay free for one night in
a room costing K50,000, with the deal including a complimentary buffet
breakfast.”
Translation by Khant Lin Oo

6

SP Gems

SP Gems

SP Gems

Myanmar VES Joint Venture

Myanmar VES Joint Venture

Forever Gems

7

Gems&
Jewellery

The Lady Gems

Forever Gems

SP Gems

The Lady Gems

Chan Li Gems

SP Gems
30 (A), Pyay Road, 7 mile, Mayangone township, Yangon
Tel: 01-660397
Forever Gems
• Myanmar Plaza
• Junction Square
Tel: 09-421054272
The Lady Gems
103/7, Aung Myay Thar Street, Golden Valley 1 Ward,
Bahan township, Yangon
Tel: 01-546107
Myanmar VES Joint Venture
66, Kaba-Aye Pagoda Road, Mayangone township. Yangon
Tel: 01-661902, 666770
Chan Li Gems
425, 83rd Street, between 35th and 36th streets, Mandalay
Tel: 02-31202, 09-910034431
Forever Gems

8

Fashion Villa
Room A-1, 1st floor, corner
of Aung Zay Ya Road and
Tapin Shwe Htee Road,
Kyauk Kone, Yankin
township, Yangon
Tel: 09-73195431

Yin Thu Htike Fashion
Between 71st & 72nd and 32nd & 33rd
streets, Sabai Lane, Mandalay
Tel: 02-74750, 09-5108964

Franzo Living Mall
15A/5, Pyay Road, Mayangone township, Yangon
Tel: 09-43205018

Theingi Shwe Wah
• 24, Narnataw Road, Kamaryut township, Yangon
Tel: 01-539346
• 32, Parami Road, Near Parami Hotel,
Mayangone township
Tel: 01-656253

Sweety Home Furniture
• 84, Yadana Road, 8 block, South Okkalapa township, Yangon
Tel: 01-8550358~9
• 82, 1 block, Ywa Ma Kyaung Lann, Hlaing township, Yangon
Tel: 01-521255, 09-977919555

9

Shopping
Guide
Eldorado Bake House
4, Waizayandar Street, Thingangyun township, Yangon
Tel: 09-976657718

WANG Florist
145, Pyay Road, 10 Mile, Insein township, Yangon
Tel : 09-782666688, 09-797624160

Casabella
22, Pyay Road, 9 Mile,
Mayangone township, Yangon
Tel: 01-656586

YES I DO
35, ground floor, 12th Street, Lanmadaw township, Yangon Tel: 09-250049920

10

A star’s twin pillars of marriage
She’s been happily married for two years. And now, thrilled that she has twins on the way, popular
actress and vocalist Chit Thu Wai shares her personal thoughts on what makes married life work.

Chit Thu Wai and Lynn Lynn during their wedding ceremony at St. Mary’s Cathedral, Yangon.  Photo: Aung Htay Hlaing

Le’ Phyu Pyar Myo Myint

H

ow do you and your husband, Lynn Lynn,
make this marriage work?
I believe in love. Both of us strongly believe
that there can be no loyalty, understanding and
support without any love or affection. So, we got married based
solely on love. A lady should always study in detail the man
she intends to marry. When I evaluated my husband-to-be, I
explored how he interacted with me and his attitude towards
my family, my surroundings and those weaker than him.
I married him because we think alike. Right from the
beginning when we became lovers, he would give me respect,
for my position and for what I was doing. He would always give
me useful suggestions without interfering in my work. I also
admired him and did not put him under any pressure.
I understand that when two people get married they
become interdependent. But that does not mean it should
become a hindrance to his freedom and his private life. If it
did, I would not interpret it as love. Therefore, if I have to be
doing something for my own sake, I would always try to be
considerate and imagine how I would feel if I were in his shoes.
Similarly, when he wants to do something for himself he would
consider my opinion and thoughts. This results in happiness
and practicality for both of us.
In married life, if all things are going to be done for the sake
of only one partner, and if the other partner has been holding
a grudge for a long time, the marriage will not work. One
similarity we both have is that if there is an issue to be settled,
we openly discuss it. This approach is really good as it does not
lead us to any domestic problem – like bickering and fighting
with each other.
So, in a nutshell, the main ingredient in marriage is love.
Nothing can be built without love. The next important factor
would be trust. If trust is lost between two partners, nothing
can be done any more. Although trust is next to love, it is
something that has intellectual implications and results in
suspicion and other consequences.
We have mutual respect and trust. So, all our problems are
curtailed. For me, love and trust are more important than
understanding. For example, if he goes on a trip, though I
worry for his health and journey, I trust him completely …
because he has proved himself to be trustworthy. I try to
balance love and trust, and it appears that my marriage life
is sailing smoothly.
You come from a happy family. Now that you are going to
be a mother to twins, how do you want to build your family
life?
We considered my age, our present situation, and decided that
this is the best time to have a baby. Imaginations of being a

mother and becoming one in reality are vastly different. What
you had said and thought beforehand might not correspond
to what you experience as a mother. Your personal self takes
a back seat while you do everything for your kids. I would eat
something for their sake, even though I would not have cared
for it in the past. Now work will come after my kids.
After my babies are born, I will still be involved in work as
I love my career. But I will surely give importance to being a
dutiful mother. My mother looked after us all the time during
our childhood. I want my children to be like that – growing
under a mother’s care and love so that they too will have loving
thoughts towards others. This being the case, I think I will give
priority to my family than to my work.
How did you feel when you knew you were going to have
twins?
Twins to me means double blessings. I knew I would have
twins six weeks into my pregnancy. There have not been any
twins in our family’s history. When I went for an ultrasound
test, my doctor said she thought it was twins but I had to wait
for another week to confirm it. I had to take all precautions.
The one-week waiting time was long. I would be worried even
if I felt a slight pain. I cancelled all my work and stayed put
listening to calm music. After a week, their heartbeats could be
heard and I was so happy.
When I heard the good news, I was delighted and tears fell
from my eyes. I revelled in receiving a special blessing. Now I
am into my ninth week.
Are you doing any specific research or preparation for your
kids?
I am keeping a record book for myself and for my children.
They do not want me to use wi-fi, so I have limited internet
access and rarely use my Facebook these days. I read about
raising children from the internet. I try to research things that
I would need when they are born. I am fortunate to have my
mother with me. Like other expectant mothers, I feel queasy
and can’t stand certain smells. I sometimes act strange. Maybe
it’s because I’m carrying twins. There may be food around, but I
may not have the appetite to eat. When I want to eat something,
I need to have it prepared right there and then, or else I lose my
appetite soon after. With my mother around, she tries to fulfill
my desires as much as she can. She tells me the dos and don’ts
and takes special care of me.
When a woman is pregnant, then you appreciate your mother
more. No one in this world can be compared to your mother.
I am very fortunate. I can live with my family while being
taken care of by my mother. My sister also takes care of me.
Even my sister’s friend takes great care of me. My husband
has come back from Nay Pyi Taw and does not have to travel
much any more. He spends more time with me and greatly
cares for me. When I feel good, I go out and do my series

recording. My life is pleasant, though it’s otherwise when I feel
sick.
Based on your experience, what would be your advice to
couples planning to get married?
You have to make sure that both of you have genuine love
for each other. Once you are sure about that, you have to ask
yourself whether you can give more than you take. The nature
of a woman by itself is you have to sacrifice. Can you still love
by sacrificing? And, if you are really fortunate, you would meet
a partner that you can trust and rely on.
Don’t try to build a married life with someone who might
love you very much and yet would be untrustworthy in a small
way. Just as you give sacrificial love, your partner must be able
to prove his trustworthiness. This is true for both sides. I’m
telling from my own experience. Even if both of you are similar
in many ways, there can’t be two partners that are perfectly
alike. There must be some give and take.
To do this you need trust, and to accept the small differences
you need sacrificial love. The natures of a man and a woman
are different. Both have different opinions and perspectives. A
woman can’t always think only from her viewpoint. Likewise, a
man has to suppress himself from giving himself priority. Both
sides have to practise sacrificial love.
My husband has to be patient with some of my strange
manners and I have to do the same when there’s some weird
behaviour from his side. He would think it’s his right to have
them, so I have to give him understanding to keep our marriage
life intact and pleasant. These are some of the things to
consider before tying the knot.
Most people these days do not consider these things before
getting married. Also, both the woman and man need to be
lucky, because in Myanmar society it’s hard to observe these
things before marrying. Therefore, they need to consider
all the possibilities and try to work on them. Even after
prior discussions, some things may not work out exactly in
a marriage. Therefore, good communication is vital at all
times.
Any additional message for your fans?
I am trying to produce a single album so that I can keep in
touch with my fans. I am planning to perform at some live
shows when I’m five or six months into my pregnancy. So, I
hope there won’t be any communication gap with my fans. I
am trying my best. I’m also thrilled to hear my fans are already
expressing their love for my yet-unborn twins. I always wanted
to grow up in a world of love. Love is the most important thing
for me. I want to keep my children surrounded by love. I feel as
if I have special blessing because of the warm welcome my fans
are giving to my twins. I’d like to express my deep appreciation
for that.
Translation by Khine Thazin Han and San Layy

11

Love that gown
Top designers share their thoughts on what brides can expect this
coming wedding season when it comes to selecting that special dress
Ei Nge

B

rides-to-be in
Myanmar are spoilt for
choice when they need to
choose that gown for that
special day – and the designer who
can make that dream come true.
One such designer is Pyae Soe
Aung, one of the most popular when
it comes to traditional wedding
dresses. Most of his designs feature
classic patterns and cool colours.
“I will create about 30 wedding
dresses for this year’s new collection.
Mostly, I will be playing with colours
in particular. Most brides choose
cheik [an elaborate silk longyi
or htamein with a beautiful and
intricate wave pattern in several
colour combinations and worn
almost invariably by the bride and
groom in matching colours]. So
all my dresses are based on cheik
patterns – large, medium and small
sizes – and my new collection mixes
all sizes of cheik patterns. Some will
be made in creeper plant patterns
– straight, horizontal and vertical
creeper,” he said.
Mogok Pauk Pauk, who always
makes wedding dresses in classic
colours and Western styles, said
his creations this year give more
attention to cheik patterned designs.
“Htaing ma thein [traditional
bridal dress] can’t go against
conventional culture, so my dresses
will be based on traditional designs.
I’ll play with multicolours for cheik,
but I’ll use cool base colours. I’ll
make different kinds of patterns for
shawls, yin khan [bodice] and the
yay thee nar [hem of the htamein]
and use real cheik designs.
“I’ve created my dresses in such a
way that they can be worn not only
by those going along with traditional
culture but also for modern-day
young people. There is traditional
cheik with Western style that looks
graceful. And then, I will be adding
flowery patterns to shawls,” he said.
Designer Ma Pont (My Favourite)
said her collection puts emphasis on
colours that look cool and Western.
“I will add lace and flower motifs
to cheik with multicolours. I don’t
want to be recreating htaing ma
thein so I will just play with colours
and cheik lines based on traditional
culture,” she said.
Designer Myo Min Soe from
Mandalay, who creates different
types of shawl every wedding season,
said his collection this year is based
on the royal look.
“During a wedding ceremony,
a bridal’s back is most noticeable,
so I’ve made shawls with machine
embroidery decoration. I chose
light green, light yellow and golden
colours in previous years. I don’t like
unusual colours at all,” he said.
Pyae Soe Aung takes a different
tack. “What colour will be popular
depends on customers. If I use my
favourite colour, they may not like
it. For me, I like really pink colours
for this year. But customers choose
their own colours when it comes to
wedding dresses.”
Myo Min Soe likes light pink or

baby pink. “I’ve made dresses with
a combination of pink and purple
colours. I’ve also made violet dresses
with silver cheik lines for pre-wedding
photo shots. I think people are choosing
light colours more and more.”
Ultimately, however, designers
listen to what women want.
Pyae Soe Aung said, “I always
negotiate with my customers to make
a design that would be pleasing to
both the customer and me. Women
look pretty in wedding dress
regardless of their skin colour or
body size. If a bride’s features don’t
match a traditional dress, I make
a Western-style creation, twig and
creeper patterns, for her. I am
supposed to create a dream dress
for my customers. I also need to
know where the wedding reception
will be held. The location and the
wedding dress have to be balanced.
A grand location would not go
well with a normal wedding dress.
Likewise, an unimportant location and

an over-decorated wedding dress would
not match.”
Ma Pont said her designs take into
account the bride’s skin tone and body
size. “I have to give advice to them
once I know what they want,” she said.
If anything, designers are busier
than ever because weddings are not
just a one-event day any more. Many
now include a separate marriage
signing ceremony, an offering of food
to monks, a purifying ceremony for
the bride and groom, and dinner. That
means different outfits are needed.
Myo Min Soe said, “Dinner dresses
are designed in unusual colours, or
white with lace. I use bright blue or
gold mostly. Dress lengths depend on
the customer’s choice. I prefer long
sleeves with thin lace to strapless
designs.”
Pyae Soe Aung mostly creates
casual dresses rather than elegant
ones for the dinner.
“Brides usually wear two dresses
– the first dress for the evening is

from wedding gown
shops and the second is
designer- made. Most
of them usually order
brightly coloured
wedding gowns.
Some do go for
black or white
gowns. I
have to
design
based
on the
customer’s
demand.
Mostly, I create
simple dresses for
dinner. It would be better for
the bride if the dress is casual and
freestyle,” he said.
Mogok Pauk Pauk, who favours
attractive evening gowns, said,
“Customers choose cool colours
than bright ones for Western-style
wedding dresses. For white dresses,
I create designs using lace. Some are

strapless with a
long train at the
back. I always
make the dresses
in Western style.
Brides look
spotless in those
dresses.”
Pyae Soe Aung’s
main advice is
that brides
should
choose
simple
dresses
rather than
complicated ones. “They
should choose designs that suit
them. Brides are often worried on
their wedding day. But if a bride is
not relaxed, it will show on her face.
That’s why brides need to choose
comfortable dresses.”
Translation by Zar Zar Soe
and Khant Lin Oo

12

After the rush, time for two
Privacy, sandy beaches, blue seas, countryside treks, dinner on a lake, interesting, different traditional
cuisine… honeymooners are spoilt for choice for that romantic interlude
Ei Ei Thu

T

hink of it, imagine the
future. The planning,
all that dashing around
and arrangements to get
things perfect, the big day, the family
and friends, the laughter, the wishes,
the cheers, the applause … you’re
married. Now, what would be the
perfect place to spend many blissful
moments together before you dive
back into the hustle and bustle of life?
Yes, it’s your honeymoon, and here
are some of the most idyllic spots in
Myanmar where you can spend time
with the love of your life… to relax,
be refreshed and simply be with one
another.

Ngwe Saung beach

Just a couple of hours’ drive away
from Yangon, Ngwe Saung beach
is one of the best locations for
honeymooners. Newlyweds would
certainly enjoy the clear waters
and white sandy beach, and at a
surprisingly reasonable price too. It’s
a perfect spot for couples who do not
wish to roam about but would rather
stay within budget and closer to home.

“There are special packages for
honeymooners. For a three-day and
two-night trip to Ngwe Saung, it’s
just US$250 per person. It includes
romantic dinners, round-trip bus
tickets and hotel accommodation.
People are also now going to the
Kyetmauk Island in the Myeik
Archipelago,” said Aye Sandar,
director of Mother Irrawaddy travel
and tour agency.

Ngapali beach

Ngapali is listed as one of the, if not
the, best beaches in Southeast Asia
and no wonder then that it’s one of
the most popular tourist destinations
in Myanmar. Those who can afford it
would pick Ngapali because of its clear
waters and beautiful sandy beach.
The best months to travel there would
be between October and April. Most
local couples choose Ngapali for their
honeymoon.
“Chaungtha, Ngwe Saung
and Ngapali are the three most
popular destinations for going on a
honeymoon in Myanmar. Our Tango
travel agency arranges particular
packages for newlyweds who want to
go to Ngapali. A package tour includes

hotel charges, round-trip air tickets,
shuttle bus service from airport to
hotel [for pick-up and drop off],
romantic room service and dinner.
The price is K350,000 per person,” said
Khaung Khaung, director of Tango
Travel Company.

Chin State’s Nat Ma Taung
(Khaw-nu-soum) National
Park

Newlyweds who want to enjoy some
adventure might want to go to Nat
Ma Taung National Park, also known
as Khaw-nu-soum, in Chin State. Your
long trek would take you through
beautiful countryside and you could
even visit nearby villages. In addition,
it would be a chance to learn more
about the different cultural traditions of
indigenous people.
“This long trek is perfect for
those keen on climbing hills, but not
recommended for those who prefer
rest and relaxation. Notwithstanding
that, we see an increase in recently
married couples among our customers
who take our tour package to Nat Ma
Taung. The best time for travelling to
this hill location is between November
and April, during which you can enjoy

Marriage at a price
While some still prefer to do it all themselves, these days there are
wedding planners to help couples make their big day a memorable one
Myint Kay Thi

T

imes have changed even
when it comes to marriage
in Myanmar. In the past it
was the norm for couples
to plan their weddings with help
from family and friends. These days,
however, couples in cities like Yangon and
Mandalay are opting to hire a wedding
planner to organise the whole event. To a
few, it’s even important to hire a famous one
when money’s not an issue.
However, if you do have a budget,
there are many planners and packages
you can consider. No matter which you

choose, one thing must be kept in mind:
Wedding planners need time to put it
all together, especially those who are
popular. Usually, a couple would need to
contact a planner about five months to
one year in advance.
According to Thazin Min Khine, CEO of
Romantic Wedding Planner Services, “Some
would give us only two months’ lead time
and we have to rush the arrangements. If
you are busy or going away on a trip, it’s best
to hire a wedding planner once you have
decided your marriage date. With enough
lead time, the planner can start reserving a
wedding hall and organise things in a more
systematic way.”

Wedding bliss comes at a price.
Sometimes it takes up to a year to get a
reservation at a popular hall for the date
requested, she said. She has about four
types of packages, and the prices range
from over K3.3 million to around K10
million. The more elaborate the wedding,
the greater the work required and the
more it costs.
The bride and groom can discuss in
detail what exactly they want from the
planner, from the reception hall all the way
through to the emcee, invitation cards,
dresses, make-up, hairstyle, jewellery, floral
decorations, music, band and photography.
As for locations, most couples choose

Picturesque view of Ngapali Beach. Photo: Staff
scenes of various kinds of flowers
that you won’t see in lowland regions.
A five-day, four-night trip costs only
K200,000 per person,” said Khaung
Khaung.
Located in northern Shan State’s
Nyaungshwe township, Inle is a
unique location for newlyweds who
want to enjoy something different.
Vegetation growing on floating
islands, clear blue water that enables
you to see the bottom of the lake,
and flocks of seagulls are some of
the sights that draw visitors, not to
mention the lifestyle there. As almost

all of the hotels there are built on the
lake’s expanse of water, Inle offers a
special gift in the form of a romantic
dinner on water.
“Inle has beautiful views. In
February, you can take fabulous
pictures along a road leading to
Sagaing as it would be filled with
blooming lotus flowers. There is Aye
Thar Yar vineyard where visitors can
enjoy lunch among the grapevines.
Prices may vary according to the
type of hotel you choose,” said Hla
Darli Khin, director of 7 Days Travel
Company.
Translation by Zar Zar Soe

wedding halls, but there are some who
choose lakesides, gardens and beaches,
said Thazin Min Khine.
“In some cases, we need only give our
recommendation. For some, we have to
give a package deal. The bride and the
groom tell us what kind of wedding they
want and we then explain the services [we
provide and how we can work together],”
she said.
Typically, halls are rented for two
hours for a wedding ceremony and hotels
offer services that include food, floral
arrangements and the backdrop, manager
Su Myat from Rose Garden Hotel said.
“In some weddings, where they have a
planner, we have to negotiate with them
on the services we offer and things they
can expect from us. It costs a minimum
of US$16 per head, including hall rental
charges. The total cost would depend on
the number of guests invited.
“Couples can make reservations any
time, although it would be difficult to

get a booking on the date they request
during the season after the Buddhist
Lenten period when there are plenty of
marriages,” she said.
Hotels offer various wedding packages.
For instance, at the Parkroyal Hotel, for
a menu of tea and snacks, there are the
Sapphire, Ruby and Diamond packages, and
this covers at least 300 guests. If Myanmar,
Chinese, Indian or Western menus are
preferred, the prices would be different.
According to Thazin Min Khine,
like in the old days, there are still some
couples who plan their own weddings,
counting on the assistance of relatives
and friends. Those that do pick wedding
planners have two reasons: Either they
are too busy to make the arrangements
themselves, or they don’t want to risk
making the wrong choices. Wedding
planners’ charges start from as low as
K350,000, and certainly cost more the
more the couple desires.
Translation by Kyawt Darly Lin

Inle Lake