Toilets and Bathrooms
Street Wise
Sexual Matters
Sensitive Subjects
Village vs.Town
Body Language





Mothers start putting aside items for the trousseau almost as soon as the birth of their daughter. Bed linen, kitchen and bathroom towels, table cloths, pretty napkins and underwear accumulate to a hefty high by the time the girl reaches 17. For the sons, the fathers save a little each month so that when the time comes they will have enough to throw a marriage party which everyone can talk about. They also buy the bulk of the furniture for the new couple. It is customary that the girl's side provide for the bedroom and the kitchen, while the boy's family is responsible for the contents of the sitting and dining rooms.

Although regional variations exist, the bridal gown is white as in the West and, until registration is complete, the bride wears her veil over her face. Only after the marriage vows are taken can the groom raise and kiss her on the cheeks. In the old days when the marriages were arranged, this was the first time a man saw the face of his bride, sometimes to his horror. Nowadays this part of the ceremony is kept only as a ritual.

It is believed that whoever steps on the foot of the other during the registration ceremony will have the upper hand during the marriage, so most couples are too occupied with finding the foot of the other under the table to concentrate on what is happening above the table, but if they should forget about this, their friends will shout their heads off the remind them not to surrender so easily.

In some regions the tradition of pinning a bank-note on the bridal gown is retained but in urban weddings the gift is an item with practical use in the newly established home. People bring their presents to the couple in their first visit after the wedding. In the first few months after marriage, the newlyweds entertain day in and day out, to accept the presents. Bric-a-brac and kitchen or tableware are the most common items for a wedding gift but these days couples keep a list of the things they need, so asking for it in advance will avoid unnecessary time and worry.