By M Rafique
Name is unchangeable from the time of naming to the time of death. Most Rohingyas generally keep two names; one is Muslim name and the other is Burmese. Both names don’t process surnames. For every name used whether from Burmese or Arabic language, there is a meaning for each word. For instant, Noor Hakim is a Muslim name in which Noor means Light while Hakim refers to Wise, but Hakim is not a surname.
Calling someone who is older than caller is very sensitive in Rohingya culture. Rohingyas use specific terms for specific age groups and genders. For example; Gera (elder paternal uncle), Cacha (younger paternal uncle), Mamu (maternal uncle), Bodda (eldest brother), Majja (second elder brother), and so on.
Name remains the same as the original even after the marriage, husband and wife bearing their original names. Traditionally, betrothal is arranged by the Rohingya parents. Once it is time for marriage, Moharna (ornament) is fixed by the parents or guardians of the bride and the groom and it is most essential according Islamic law. It must be given by the groom for the bride. Both the bride and groom must declare their willingness by pronouncing the words “Khawbul Ahsi” (we do agree) in front of at least three witness and the Molvi Shaheeb (religious scholar) who perform the marriage. Divorce rate among the Rohingyas is less than other races of Burma.
The wedding ceremonies are held in receptions as far as possible. The reception diner is usually held by the family of the bride-groom. In special cases called “Salami”, the reception dinner is held at the bride’s home. During the wedding month the relatives of the newly wedded couple use to invite them and are served with at least one meal in consecutive days by each and every household of their relatives which shows their affections for the couple. In almost all Rohingya’s marriage ceremonies, ‘Howlla’ (Group singing) songs and folk-dancing of girls and women are common.