I now pronounce you brother and sister
What are your family traditions?
One of the beautiful things about the human race is our ability to pass on various traditions across generations, giving us a common sense of identity or a shared sense of personality over time.
Are your favorite traditions familial, or perhaps they’re regional or even cultural? From holidays to the clothes we wear, the way we speak, and even the way we act, tradition is an essential part of the human experience, whether we choose to follow it or break from it.
Of course, coming from one culture, it’s easy to look at the traditions of others with an ethnocentric, judgmental eye. A better practice is to respect something that’s different simply for its wonder or prominence instead of casting judgement at all.
When it comes to forced child marriage and incest, however, refraining from judgment might be a little hard.
Bride, Groom, Twins.
For many parents, a child’s wedding day is likely to be one of the happiest days of their life.
Could you begin to imagine the sheer joy of both children getting married? On the same day? To each other?
Meet Teekatat and Tawisa Hiranmekawanit, who were just married by their family and community in the Thai province of Ang Thong. Here’s the kicker: Teekatat and Tawisa are twins, and they’re both three years and four months old.
In the name of love
In Thailand, as well as in many other Southeast Asian cultures, there is a tradition that dictates opposite-sex twins should marry each other in their infancy. The penalty for not marrying? Death for one of the twins.
Unsurprisingly, there’s a lot of history behind this tradition. In countries like Thailand, Japan, and the Philippines, it’s believed that twins were the reincarnation of lovers from a past life. In most stories, these soulmates were star-crossed, committed suicide, or met a terrible fate. Thus they are reborn as twins so that they may always be together. In order to show their appreciation to the angels who made this possible, however, the twins must marry each other in their youth or else bad luck or death will befall them once again.
Incest or love stories between twins are common across the planet, both in Asian and Indo-European cultures. In Bali, twins often marry because it was assumed that they already had sex in utero. In the Philippines, a Tagalog creation myth says that the first two humans on Earth were a twin brother and sister born of the same bamboo plant.
Brother and Sister, Man and Wife
“As parents, we must provide the wedding to let the angels know that the twins are happily in love and will be together forever,” explained their mother, Sasi. ”It is an ancient belief to show the angels they are in love and will never stay apart.”
In an effort to ward off bad luck, it certainly doesn’t hurt that family members of the groom still chipped in to pay a sinsod, a sort of dowry. The child bride received over $560 as well as a large amount of 23-carat gold.
”They must get married otherwise one of them will die,” their mother continued. “We provided the wedding ceremony according to our belief that in the olden days the boy and girl twins were soulmates but couldn’t stay together. They were reborn again in this life, they were reborn as boy and girl twins.”
And, of course, since this is a tradition, it happens more often than you may think. But there’s one catch to this kind of marriage.