Marriage Rituals Of Sunni Lebanonis, Lar, And Zimbabwe

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Marriage Rituals of Sunni Beirutis, Lar, and Zimbabwe
Stephanie Jones
ANT 101 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
Instructor: James Turner
November 25, 2013

Marriage Rituals of Sunni Beirutis, Lar, and Zimbabwe Marriage is an ancient ritual practiced by almost every culture in the world. Different cultures have different beliefs regarding how this ritual should take place. Some cultures believe in having many wives, while others believe in only one. A lot of cultures allow the person involved, to pick who they choose to marry for themselves. Some cultures arrange the marriages while the parties involved have no choice at all. I intend to take a look at 3 different cultures, compare and contrast their beliefs about the marriage rituals, while also looking at what may cause these differences and why. The first culture we will take a look at is the Sunni Muslims of Beirut, Lebanon. This is a culture that still believes in arranged marriages. While some of the customs have changed over the years, many are still the same. In the past, the parents chose who their children’s spouses would be, and the children had no say at all. However, this changed around the middle of the last century (Nasser, Dabbous, & Baba, 2013). In the past, there was an engagement period that was very short, so the couple did not have time to get to know each other before becoming spouses. It was literally going from being strangers to a married couple as husband and wife. “Although some families still maintain a strict conservative control, a less obtrusive parent-child dialogue is currently the norm among the Lebanese Muslims. Parents assume the role of supervisors over, and advisors about, the marital process” (Nasser, Dabbous, & Baba, 2013, pg. 388, para. 4). This allows the children to voice their opinions in who they will end up married to, and whether or not they approve with the choices their parents believe are right for them. Some other changes that have occurred are, the lengthening of the engagement period to anywhere from 1 to 4 years, and rather than the newly-wed couple being dependent on their parents, they are now more financially independent (Nasser, Dabbous, & Baba, 2013). These are just a few of the changes that have occurred over the years in this culture. Let’s take a look at a few more. While the arranged marriages of the past were typically religious based or traditional, they now occur more often for a different reason. Since the couples have to be more financially independent “many Lebanese males travel abroad seeking higher salaries in the oil-rich Arab Gulf countries” (Nasser, Dabbous, Baba, 2013, pg. 388 para. 5). Therefore, a lot of Lebanese men will ask their mothers to help them find a Lebanese wife, since they are very rarely home to look for themselves. By the mother picking the wife and arranging the marriage, it makes the arrangement more “practical” than religious (Nasser, Dabbous, Baba, 2013). Another factor affecting the changes is that Lebanese woman are now wanting to get a good education. This way they will be able to help assist their husband later with the financial situation. By becoming more educated they are becoming “more exposed women who negotiate their parents' control over the marital process and often dream of a romantic marriage based on love” (Nasser, Dabbous, Baba, 2013, pg. 389, para. 1). With the children having more say in the way the arrangements are being made, and having a longer engagement period, they no longer feel like strangers when they become married. Arranged marriages are just one of the many different cultural rituals that pertain to marriage. Some cultures have marriage practices that are very extended and ritualistic. One such culture is the Lari culture of Lar, which is a province in Iran. The Lari have a very long extended marital ritual that is very involved. In this culture, “Marriage was accomplished in stages over time. A complex set