Sunday, September 11, 2016

The Burmese Way

Myanmar Family
The Burmese pride themselves on proper etiquette. Public displays of excessive emotion, whether prompted by anger or by love, are frowned on. Elders and others of a higher status, such as monks, should be addressed and treated with courtesy. It is considered rude, for instance, to pass things over the heads of seated elders. To show respect to grandparents, parents and teachers on formal occasions, the Burmese kneel down with their foreheads and elbows touching the ground. When passing a pagoda or meeting a monk, they put their palms together in a gesture of reverence.
Burmese people are also very sensitive about imposing on, or inconveniencing, other people. The fear of embarrassing others is called anade (AH-nar-Del). If you asked a Burmese guest what drink you could serve him or her, your guest would probably say, “Anything is fine” to avoid embarrassing you by asking for something you might not have.

Close-Knit Families
Burmese households often consist of three generations. If family members do not live in the same house, they usually live near each other and visit often. Children learn to share and to participate in family life at an early age. Siblings and cousins often share bedrooms. Children take part in all social occasions, apart from funerals. In rural areas, they often run small errands for adults or help out in the fields. All children are expected to respect and obey not only their parents but all their elders. They are also expected to take care of their aged parents.

Men and Women
In Buddhism, men have a higher status than women – Buddhists believe in reincarnation, and a woman has to hope that, in her next life, she is reborn as a man.
The husband is considered the spiritual head of the Burmese household because of his hpon (PONE), or spiritual status. In public, women let men take the lead, often walking behind their husbands or fathers. At home, however, a husband usually hands his earnings over to the wife, who manages the family budget and often runs her own small business, too.
Women are excluded from certain areas of religious buildings, such as the middle platform of the Shwedagon Pagoda. Despite the hierarchy of Buddhism, however Burmese women have a quiet self-confidence that comes from a tradition of independence. At a time when many women in other parts of the world had no legal rights, a Burmese woman could choose whom to marry, even if her parents disagreed. She could divorce her husband by putting her case before the village elders, and if her complaints were fair, her request would be granted. Today, just as in the past, a woman keeps the money and property brought into a marriage. If she divorces, she keeps not only what was hers before marriage but also her share of any money or property in the family business. Women also have equal rights of inheritance with men. They dominate the markets as traders of goods or food vendors. Today, there are many women in professional occupations, too, working as doctors, dentists, lawyers, writers, teachers, and scientists. At universities in Myanmar, female enrollment equals that of males.
Walking men in downtown of Yangon

Myanmar women at home

Most popular country side ladies game in Myanmar

Popular sport for men

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