...suddenly I'm thinking about the concept of dowry among some cultures like mine. Perhaps in this modern world, it is a much misunderstood concept. In my culture nowadays, at least to my limited observation, daughters try so hard to discourage their parents from receiving dowry from their future husbands. Well, admittedly when I was getting married, I did have some uneasy feeling about my parents asking for dowry from my husband-to-be. It's like you are 'being sold'...sort of. Thankfully my parents didn't ask for money, rather a traditional token as a symbolic respect for the long-observed tradition.
I've heard of people setting the amount of dowry based on the educational achievement of the daughter. I don't actually know how far true that is. It could be just an urban legend. That would imply that a daughter who completed a degree would gain a higher amount of dowry compared to a high-school graduate. Hmm...maybe this is when dowry equates to 'selling off one's daughter'?...Or are there some underlying reasonings that I failed to see?
Recently I had the pleasure of witnessing a traditional engagement ceremony, and I learnt a new meaning of the word 'dowry'. In that ceremony the parents of the bride-to-be refused or rather tried to refuse a dowry offering. But it was denied by the village headman. The groom-to-be family explained that 'dowry' is a much-honored tradition among the people because it signifies the man's appreciation to the lady he is intending to marry. Now that is beautiful. All my prior prejudices about dowry were lifted...thank goodness. Perhaps when the time comes for me to marry off my daughters, I won't hesitate to continue upholding the dowry tradition anymore...
Well, interpreted correctly, traditions can be beautiful.
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