Sin Sod is also sometimes written as Sin Sot and is very often referred to as a dowry, although this may not actually be a correct interpretation. This money is actually paid to the brides family during the wedding ceremony and is much like a business transaction, sometimes with negotiations that go on well before the marriage is planned. In fact, in Thai culture, you may be quoted a price of Sin Sod as soon as one month into dating a woman.
The Eldest Daughter Issue
Now, here is why you shouldn’t consider what is Sin Sod dowry in Thailand to exactly be a dowry. In their culture, the eldest daughter typically is responsible for taking care of elderly parents and they can be reliant upon her income. When you marry this girl, you are simply being asked to replace that income because you are now taking her income away from their household. In their culture, taking care of parents is very important and this is strictly seen as the ‘honorable thing to do.’
For the poorest families, this sum of money is seen as a way of recouping the expenses of raising their daughter because it is very typical in their culture for the family to go without food or sell their property in order to send their daughter to school/college and see to it that she is prepared to enter the work force and help take care of them. You come along, marry her and whisk her away and they are left with nothing for their investment and suffering years without anything so that they could give her these benefits. Paying the Sin Sod is a respectable form of making sure that they are repaid for all this doing without.
All of this being said, many families in modern Thai culture do not request a Sin Sod and will tell a boyfriend that they do not want or expect it. However, they will adhere to the traditional transaction at the wedding and then return the money after the ceremony. This is simply part of their heritage and culture that they cling to and honor, much like traditions in other countries that serve no real purpose anymore.
When someone asks you what is the Sin Sod dowry in Thailand, by all means help them to understand that it is not about buying or selling humans. Families are not placing a price tag on their precious daughters, whom they love and cherish very much.
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John is a Thai flower designer and florist for www.gogoflorsit.com who also gives advice on their blog about the unique culture in Thailand.