1 groom, 3 brides at unusual Thai wedding… who paid the dowry?
Thai traditions went out the window at an unusual wedding last week in Nonthaburi province, central Thailand. The groom was in for a surprise when his three girlfriends asked for his hand in marriage and presented him with a dowry of 100,000 baht each on his 35th birthday. Together, the women have a total of nine children with the groom, who is a doctor of Thai traditional medicine. The polygamous family have lived together for a number of years already.
Suea Supareek, a local healer, is of Brahmin descent. In the Brahmin tradition, it is the woman (or women) who ask for the man’s hand (hands?) in marriage, so that’s why the three brides secretly saved up their money to present a dowry to Suea on his 35th birthday. The women also presented their groom-to-be with gold and land title deeds.
Suea’s first wife, 30 year old Nutcharin Phankat, has been with Suea for 16 years (since she was 14 years old…) and has one son and three daughters with him. Seua’s second wife, 35 year old Pitchaya Suraseeruangchai, has been in the picture for nine years and has three sons and one daughter with the man. The third wife, 31 year old Kawinthida Kulapatchaiyapoom, joined the family seven years ago and has one daughter with the groom. The family of 13 live together and are mainly supported through Seua’s healing work, as he treats 400-500 patients every month.
Suea’s third wife Kawinthida shed some light on the arrangement…
“I want to unite my family. It is a love we have accumulated for a long time and our kids have grown up together.”
“I met my husband at a tattoo contest. We got to know each other and he said he had two partners already. He told me he is a doctor and he has children. He has always been honest and open with us. His second partner asked me to join them and I agreed to live with them under the same roof. We all help each other to make a living and get by.”
“The first wife asked for a second wife and the second wife asked for a third wife. We respect and believe in Thai traditional medicine and strongly believe in the word “empathy” as a principle which makes our lives better. We learned that in Brahminism, the women must propose to the man, so the three of us spoke together and agreed to pay a dowry of 100,000 baht each.”
Apparently, the women have never argued or fought, all have clear duties and support each other.
Polygamous marriages are not recognised under Thai law, but the lifestyle is still practised by some people.
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