In Myanmar there are two words for family: ein daung zu (the household group) and mi thaa zu (the mother offspring group). The husband is the head of the household, but the wife assumes equal responsibility for the family's welfare. In the rural areas, people live in extended families with grandparents and uncles and aunts. In urban areas, households are smaller, consisting only of parents and children.

 Traditions and religious beliefs play important roles in family life. When children are born, their horoscope is charted to predict the future. Astrological computations are used to choose the child's name. The naming ceremony takes place seven days after a child's birth. When a boy turns nine, there is a shin-pyu ceremony, which is an initiation to manhood. The boy spends a few weeks in a Buddhist monastery. When a girl turns nine, there is an ear-piercing ceremony called nahtwin, which symbolizes the transition to womanhood.

Arranged marriages are common. Wealth and prestige are important in the selection of a spouse, and a wealthy son-in-law is considered a social asset. The marriages are generally negotiated by an aunt, grandmother or a family friend. The family astrologer is consulted to determine whether the two young people will be compatible. The parents of both parties arrange to meet on an auspicious day. The betrothal takes place after a formal request by the man for the woman's hand in marriage. Weddings are not a religious ceremony and may be performed by any distinguished member of society who is happily married and has several children.
  Did you know?
The Inthas, or lake dwellers, live in 17 villages on Inle Lake in central Myanmar. The houses in the villages sit on stilts in the water.
Women and men have equal rights. Women may enter any profession and may own property. Most women do not change their names when they marry. Girls are educated with boys and women tend to outnumber men in the universities.

 Houses in Myanmar vary according to the setting and the family's social status. Village houses have thatched roofs and walls made of bamboo matting. Wealthy families have wooden homes with iron roofs. Some traditional homes have beautiful mahogany and teak pillars. Many houses are built several feet above the ground for protection against floods during the rainy season. In the cities, ordinary houses are built on a concrete base, with two or three rooms separated by plywood partitions.

Both men and women wear longyis, an ankle-length piece of cloth wrapped around the body and tied into a knot at the waist. Over this they wear a shirt called eingyi. Men wear a turban or a gaung-baung for formal occasions. Men and women wear simple leather thongs on their feet. Women may wear rubies, sapphires, jade and pearls. This jewellery is regarded as a form of investment.
  Did you know?
The Padaungs are an ethnic group in eastern Myanmar. They have a custom of fitting metal rings around the necks of the women to stretch them. Girls start with a single ring when they are about five or six. A new ring is added every two years. It is believed that custom may have begun as a way of protecting the women against tigers or raiders from other tribes.