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Northern Style: ‘Mat Mue’ Tradition

A traditional ‘Lanna’ style wedding, or ‘Mat Mue’ (tying hands) ceremony, in the Northern Thai style was a simple ceremony rooted in self-sufficiency. It started with senior relatives of both families joining in a morning merit-making ceremony. After the wedding, both parties hosted a ‘Bai Sri’ ritual where the bride and groom’s hands are tied, coins in the amount of nine Baht, 12 Baht, 21 Baht or 99 Baht (amount varies depending on individual belief) are placed in individual ‘Bai Sri’ bowls to ensure prosperity.

The ‘Mat Mue’ ceremony also freed the groom from having to save money for a traditional ‘Sin Sot‘, or dowry when asking for a bride’s hand in marriage. There was also no need for expensive costumes; the only restriction was the engaged couple agreed not to consummate the union prior to their wedding ceremony. Ancestor worship remained important with both families paying respect to deceased relatives with offerings of food depending on the beliefs of each village or area.

Presently, the ‘Mat Mue’ tradition has become less apparent, as younger generations prefer to blend them with more modern Central Region style wedding rituals.

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