Wednesday, 16 April 2008 11:14 AM

No Bride Price for Shortland Islands

Marriage is a sacred ceremony across all cultures, performed in many different ways.

In the Solomons, one common practice in many local marriages throughout the Melanesian communities is the bride price where the groom's family takes the bride for a price.

As common as it may be, it is however not the case in the Shortland islands when it comes to asking a girl's hand in marriage known as 'eva'.

"There is no such thing as buying a bride for a price in our culture," a source from Maleali village in the Shortland said.

He explained that although Melanesians, the practice of not buying their bride goes back to the days of their ancestors.

"In our custom, the parents of an intending groom will approach the girl's parents because it is against our culture for the man to make the moves himself," he said.

It was revealed that there are two ways of asking a girl in marriage in the Shortland culture.

One way is the parents of the paired male and female will meet and discuss among themselves if it is appropriate for their children to get married.

Another way is through arranged marriage, where a chief will choose the rightful wife for a son who wishes to get married.

"The chief then calls on the women in the village to go and get his son's bride, who will then be brought to the village, yet not allowed to share a room with the son," the source added.

It was explained that the couple would only be allowed to share a room once they are married in church "because it is not only against our culture but also against the Catholic religion for two who are not married to be in one room".

Solomon Times was informed that the strong Catholic influence in Shortlands also plays a big role in the respect the community holds for marriage.

For the bride to inform her brothers that she is going to get married, she is expected to pay 20 cents before making the announcement.

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