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The role of the matchmaker "Magul Kapuwa"
Aug 14, 2015
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 The role of the ‘magul kapuva’


Marriage in the past was a simple affair in the village. Marriage took one of two forms. One was called ‘diga’ when the bride was taken to the bridegroom’s house. The other was known as ‘binna’ when the bridegroom decided to stay in the bride’s house after marriage.

 



 

The latter form was very often adopted when there were no males in the girl’s family to take over the burden of cultivating the fields or looking after the lands. In such cases the man joining the family by marrying the female also took over the responsibility of looking after the girl’s parents. This form of marriage was known as ‘binna bahinawa’ meaning settling down at the bride’s house as opposed to ‘diga denava’ which meant giving the girl away.

 

 

In its simplest form, a young man in the village would select a girl and if the parents and close relations approved, they would get married and stay with his parents or build a small house for the two of them. In fairly well to do families the process was a little more involved when the parents of a girl in the marriageable age would seek a partner for her from a family matching their status or one with better status.

 

 

Very often this task was assigned to a ‘magul kapuva’ (matchmaker). He would be given details of the girl’s family, the dowry that the parents are prepared to give and description of the type of partner they would be looking for. The typical ‘kapuva’ would be clad in sarong, shirt and black coat and carry an umbrella. He would have details of various families with young men and women of marriageable age.

 

 

Once he gets the details about a prospective bride, he would select a matching family and arrange for the parties to meet. A preliminary visit is made to the girl’s house for the young man’s family to make an assessment of the prospective bride’s family. If they are satisfied, a formal visit is arranged when the young man would meet the girl formally. She would offer a tray of betel or a glass of water to the young man, inviting him to have tea, while the close relations would have a good look at her.

 

 Horoscopes play an important role in arranging a marriage. Each party will get the family astrologers to examine the horoscopes of the prospective bride and bridegroom and if they match, they would agree.

 

 

Then on an auspicious day, the engagement takes place at the bride’s residence. This is usually a quiet affair where the close relations of the young man would come over, take part in ‘mudu maarukirima’ when rings are exchanged at an auspicious hour and formal notice of marriage is given before the Registrar of Marriages who will be brought to the house. The function would take place in the morning hours so that the mid day meal is served before the bridegroom’s party leaves.

 

The ‘kapuva’ who acts as the go-between is happy and collects his fee from both parties.
Thereafter, the wedding would take place within three months, the time limit after notice of marriage is given. Though wedding receptions are held in hotels or reception halls today, the earlier practice was to arrange for the ceremony to be held in the bride’s house.

 

It’s a big occasion for the family and preparations would take many moons. The house and garden would be given a completely new look. A special ‘magual maduwa’ will be built for the grand lunch while the living room will be arranged for the key activity - the ‘poruva’ ceremony. The list of invitees will be carefully prepared because if one party is missed, it will mean the end of a relationship.

 

Courtesy:sundaytimes