Breaking Tradition, House Speaker’s Daughter Asks for No Wedding Gifts

By The Irrawaddy 6 February 2017

RANGOON — It is tradition in Burma to give gifts at wedding ceremonies, to provide the newlyweds with the necessities to start a life together. Generally, friends and relatives give generously and the new couples accept with gratitude.

But this is not the case at the wedding of Burma’s Lower House Speaker U Win Myint’s daughter, which is scheduled to be held on Feb. 11 in Naypyidaw. Her invitation clearly states “No Wedding Gifts, Please.”

The statement is original in a country where newlyweds are gifted cars and substantial checks at their weddings, especially if their parents hold powerful government positions, in hopes of gaining favor with the family.

The groom U Soe Moe, an Upper House lawmaker, told local media that both families agreed to the decision.

“It’s not a big deal,” he said.

Despite a lack of elaboration on the “no gift” statement, it may be partly because of guidelines set by State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi limiting the types of gifts that civil servants may accept in order to curtail corruption.

The guidelines dictate the government employees may not accept any gift worth more than 25,000 kyats (US$21), an amount more than 10 times lower than the threshold allowed by the previous government.

One thing is certain for the bride and groom. The after-wedding hours may be a bit more dull without the excitement of opening cards and gift boxes while guessing what may be inside.