Burmese traditions


The whole life of the Burmese is reacted with respect for traditions and customs. These vary, of course, in minority ethnic groups that have their own rites.



The Burmese home is crucial in the life of the Burmese. It is often consists of three generations. If family members do not always live in the same house, they usually live nearby and family members often visit each other. Children learn to share and participate in early family life. Brothers and sisters, cousins, often share their room. Children participate in all social occasions, except funerals. In rural areas, they often do small errands to help adults or help them work in the fields. All children are required to respect and obey not only their parents and elders. They are also required to take care of their elderly parents.



Burmese marriages can be religious or secular, extravagant or simple. It is when one sees the longyi (sarong) of the man hanged on a beam of the house, or a couple eating on the same plate, whether there was a ceremony or not, that one knows that the marriage has been recognized.

Burmese do not practice dowries or arranged marriages.

Marriages traditionally do not take place during the three months of Buddhist Lent, from July to October. Buddhist monks do not attend, but they can be invited to bless the newlyweds.

Couples often consult an astrologer to choose the most favorable date and place for the ceremony. A master of ceremonies, a brahman, will preside at the wedding. After the bride and groom sit side by side on cushions, the master of ceremonies begins by blowing into a conch. He joins the couple's palms, which he wraps in white cloth before plunging them into a silver bowl. After singing a few mantras, the brahman removes the couple's hands from the bowl and blows again into the conch to close the ceremony. Shows or music follow, and the wedding ends with the speech of a guest of high social status.



Burmese funerals usually last a week, the corpse being traditionally buried or burned on the third day. A coin is placed in the mouth of the dead to pay the "toll" of death. Before the burial, a rice offering covered with turmeric is made to appease the guardian deity of the earth.

During the funeral ceremony, all attendances are given paper fans with the name of the deceased and Buddhist texts on the impermanence of life and Samsara.

In town, there are garlands of flowers and floral decorations, as well as money for less well-off families. In the countryside, it is more practical to give gifts to the bereaved family, such as food. The doors and windows of the deceased's house can be left open, so that her spirit leaves her, and a vigil can be organized at night. On the seventh day, a meal is offered to the bonzes, who in return recite blessings and protective parittas and transfer merits to the deceased, then conclude with a Buddhist libation ceremony.


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