Traditional Burmese folklore considers love to be destiny, as the Hindu god Brahma writes one's destiny in love on a child's brow when he or she is six days old, called na hpuza (နဖူးစာ, lit. "destiny on the forehead"). A Burmese wedding can be religious or secular and extravagant or simple. Traditionally, a marriage is recognized with or without a ceremony when the man's longyi (sarong) is seen hanging from a rail of the house or if the couple eats from the same plate. Dowries are typically unheard of, and arranged marriage is not a custom of the Burmese. Weddings are traditionally avoided during the Buddhist lent, which lasts three months from July to October.
However, many Burmese couples opt for more extravagant affairs. Generally speaking, Buddhist monks are not present to conduct the wedding and solemnize the marriage, as they are forbidden to officiate a marriage. However, they may be invited to bless the newly wed couple. A more extravagant wedding requires months of preparation, including consultation with an astrologer in choosing the most auspicious time and setting of the event. Also, a master of ceremonies, typically a brahmin, is hired to preside over the ceremony. The bride and groom sit on cushions next to each other. At the beginning of the wedding, the Brahmin blows a conch shell to commence the ceremony and joins the palms of the couple, wraps them in white cloth, and dips the joined palms in a silver bowl. The Burmese word "to marry" is let htat (လက်ထပ်), which literally means "to join palms together". After chanting a few Sanskrit mantras, the brahmin takes the couple's joined palms out of the bowl and blows the conch shell to end the ceremony. Afterward, entertainers perform, and the wedding is ended with a speech by a guest of higher social standing. Wedding receptions at a hotel, serving tea and ice cream, are common in urban areas.
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