An ancient custom has led to the untimely wedlock of two underage couple in Indonesia.
A fifteen-year-old boy and a twelve-year-old girl in Indonesia were reportedly forced to marry because they broke a local custom that forbids dating after sunset.
Several media reports had it that 15-year-old Suhaimi and his 12-year-old girlfriend, Nur Herawati, were pressured into the marriage by the girl’s parents, after allegedly breaking customary dating laws, which forbids young couples to return home after dusk.
This happened after the teenage boy brought his young girlfriend home after 7:30 pm earlier this month. That incident left the girl’s parents with no other choice but to approve the marriage.
The couple’s Ijab kabul (wedding solemnization) ceremony was witnessed by dozens of relatives and neighbors, and footage of it was shared on Indonesian social media all last week, sparking a heated debate about child marriage. The wedding did not receive approval from the Religious Affairs Office (KUA), which legally sanctions marriages in Indonesia, Coconuts Jakarta reports, but the couple’s families consider them married. Suhaimi’s parents reportedly tried to prevent the marriage, but without success.
“They say it’s because of customs. If you bring a girl home late you must marry her. We have tried to prevent this and separate them. However, parents [of the bride] insisted they had to get married,” Ehsan, chief of Montong Praje village, in Central Lombok regency, said.
The two teenagers now live as husband and wife at Suhaimi’s parents’ house.
The bizarre dating curfew reportedly belongs to the Sasak people, who mainly live on the island of Lombok. The tribe is also known for the “bride kidnapping” tradition, in which a woman is taken away by her future husband before a wedding.
Indonesia amended its marriage laws and raise the minimum age for girls from 16 to 19m but parents can still ask for “dispensation” on the grounds of religious beliefs. Some Indonesians don’t even bother to make the marriage legal, opting for religious ceremonies instead.