Marriage in East Timor is not so much different than in the United States, but it has an originality that makes it very special to the habitants of this interesting country. During the interview with my informant we talked about East Timor Traditions and what I found to be very interesting was marriage, most people will think that in most of the places in Southeast Asia marriages are typically arranged by the parents of the girl or the boy. While in the interview I asked her "how is marriage in East Timor?" her first response was "Oh gosh," that's when I knew it was going to be very interesting. She started by saying that marriages are not arranged anymore, people is free to choose who they want to marry. After the couple has been dating for some time, the first step towards marriage is; the groom's family has to visit the bride's family and have dinner together to get to know each other and talked about their son/daughter and see what they think about they getting married this is known as " Conhecido " which means get to know, during this dinner the guy gives a present to the girl such as a necklace or any other jewel, but this is not where they get engaged. If the parents of the girl agree that she can marry the boy, later they will have a ceremony where they get engaged, in this ceremony they have a dinner for the family and friends and music as well they wear typical East Timor clothes for this occasion. After the engagement the two families get together to prepare the wedding ceremony. After the engagement the boy has to pay some money or give some animals such as cows or sheep to the girl's parents, "this does not mean that he is buying their daughter, but he is being grateful that they raised her and educated her well". Moreover, before they get married the boy has to buy the furniture for their house and take it to the girl's house so her parents can see that he is ready to marry and he is responsible. If the boy is not wealthy enough to get his own house they then will live with his family. The boy's family has to pay for the wedding and if they can't they will look for godfather and godmother to do so. Something else that I found to be quite interesting is that girls are supposed to wait to get married until their older sister(s) get married; this is a way of showing them respect. Then she says "according to our traditions if a younger sister wants to get marry before an older sister she has to apologize in front of the whole family including aunts, uncles and cousins". The wedding usually takes place at a church and they dress typically a long white dress and a black tux. She says "my family will take the whole day to celebrate," for the celebration they start with a dinner in the afternoon then they spend the whole night dancing until 7 or 8 a.m. "young people are the ones who create the party feeling , boys will ask out girls to dance, older people usually just drunk and eat". This is something that I will like to experience some day a wedding in East Timor.
*culled from www.murilloblog.wordpress.com