Marriage System in Nepal
  • May 9, 2022
  • Raj Kumar Basnet
  • 152

In the Nepali context, society views marriage as the union of two souls, and it is believed that unions are created in heaven. Traditional marriage is still prominent in most parts of the country, while the modern marriage system is gradually gaining popularity in urban areas.

Unlike in most Western countries, marriage in Nepal is a family matter. Most marriages in Nepal are arranged since parents are responsible for choosing a suitable spouse for their children. Every community has its own distinct culture and aesthetic. Although, they are more or less similar in most Nepali societies. Understandably, the to-be-weds and their families have never met.

It is critical to distinguish between arranged and forced marriages in Nepal. It is not common in Nepal for families planning marriages to force their children to marry someone they do not want to marry. The children are also consulted, and their approval of the marriage is crucial.

The boy and the girl choose their companion in love marriage. Both types of marriage exist today in Nepalese society, but arranged marriage is the most common.

As word of the quest for a suitable spouse spreads, other parties begin to make offers. The groom/spouse is then chosen based on caste, class, and educational background. Their character is also investigated, and if they meet all of these requirements, the marriage date is set with the consent of the intended spouses. The Lahmi (middle person) usually brings the proposal, and if all goes well, they are rewarded for presenting the best proposal.

It is also believed that matching the horoscopes of the boy and girl is vital for a good marriage. They are compared, and a date for the wedding is set. A short or grandiose engagement ceremony (depending on the financial condition of the bride's family) is usually held before the actual wedding. The ring is presented to the groom by a male member of the bride's party and vice versa. The bride's party also gives gifts to the groom's side.

The bride's party arrives at the wedding venue (if it is different from the bride's home) earlier than the groom's party (Janti) on the wedding day to greet them. The groom sits in his car, waiting for his in-laws to arrive and invite him inside. Some Janti members travel first, bringing multiple trays (Saipato), one with a letter of invitation for the wedding from the groom, and others containing fruit, dry fruits, garments, and pieces of jewellery, among other things, which are later returned to the bride.

The bride and groom then exchange their garlands and rings at the Swayambar. They are then escorted to the Jaggey (a sitting area with flowers and a fire in the centre), where the marriage ceremonies are performed. The parents perform the Kanyadaan (handing over the daughter to the groom), and the groom declares the bride to be his wife by placing Sindur and Potey (vermillion powder and bead necklace) on her. Feasts and gifts are followed by the bride's bidai (leave), which brings the wedding ritual to a close.

In Nepal, the formal and informal marriage norms differ substantially across regions, ethnic groups, and castes.

Cross-cousin marriage, for example, is permitted among the Gurungs, but it is prohibited by Hinduism for many Brahmins. People frequently seek potential spouses within their social group, caste, or ethnicity.

The age of marriage (or the age of marriage) is the age at which a person is legally allowed to marry, either as a right or subject to parental or judicial sanction. Age and other requirements for marriage differ from one jurisdiction to the next, although in the vast majority of jurisdictions, marriage as a right begins at the age of majority.

Most jurisdictions, however, allow marriage at a younger age with parental or court consent, and some even allow younger persons to marry if the woman is pregnant. Women's marriageable age was previously lower than men's in many countries, but it has since increased to men's in many.

According to the Registration of Marriages Act, the declared legal minimum age for marriage in Nepal is 20 years for both girls and boys. They can marry at the age of 18 if their parents agree.

For the to-be spouses, the ritual is extremely important.

The bride wears the traditional red wedding gown. When it's time to depart, she frequently tears up. This could be a genuine apprehension about leaving home and family, or it could simply be a tradition.

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Nepal Country Info

Nepal is a Himalayan Country located between China (Tibet) and India. Nepal is popular for mountain Trekking and cultural heritage tour as it offers most popular Himalayan Treks of the world that includes Everest Base Camp Trek, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Annapurna Circuit Trek, Langtang Circuit Trek, Manaslu Trek and many other trekking in the Himalaya, Moreover, it is popular for the cultural tours that includes Nepal Tour package, Best of Nepal Tour and many more.

Nepal has its own style of marriage system and there are different types of way to get married and here, please find some of the traditions of marriage in Nepal.

Arranged Marriage

Arranged marriage is popular among Hindu culture in Nepal and the Hindus’ believe that the marriages are made in heaven. Once the son or daughter become at the age of marriage, the parents look for the groom or bride through relatives or people they know, they can be called middle man or we call “Lami” in Nepali. Once the groom or bride is found then the parents will go to the Astrologers/priests to consult and check and confirm whether the bride and the groom are made for each other. For this purpose both the bride and the groom's star signs are matched. The middle person or the lami, who acts as a messenger for both the families is involved in all arrangement of the wedding. Weddings start with the determination of the precise dated set by the astrologers. T

hey can be held only during certain auspicious seasons which fall from the April through June and January through February. Weddings embrace the rich cultural tradition stretching over several days. The ceremony starts with after having engagement (when the bride and groom exchange ring and garland).

First the groom will go to the bride’s with his family, friends and relatives (who are called Janti in Nepali) and the wedding ceremony will starts; the Swayambar follows where the bride and the groom exchange their rings and garland made of Doobo (Doobo is a certain type of grass which does not dry thus indicating the relationship will never break or dry), The groom wear Nepali national dress called “ Daura Suruwar with Topi” or Coat and pant as well and the bride wear heavy gold jewelries and red sari and blouse and a sparkling “ghoomto” covers her face.

The most touching scene is observed during kanyadaan, when the bride's parents perform the ritual of handling the responsibility of their daughter to the groom. Therefore, the bride become exclusively his and have to wear “sindoor and pote” as long as she is married and pray for her husband's long life. At last the laughter fades and shedding of tears begin as the farewell ritual starts. The wedding is followed by a grand reception. String of decorative light, melodious music and delicious food and drinks emphasize the high spirits of the groom's family and thus leave memories imprinted in the hearts of the guests and the bride will return to home with his wife then the marriage ceremony completed.

Love marriage

This type of the marriage are becoming more popular in Nepal these days as there are not options of choosing the life partner in arranged marriage, the new generation have started to choose their life partner them self and if the parents of the both families are agree with their choice then they will arrange the wedding according to the Arranged marriage and if any of the family is not agree then they leave the family and get marriage themselves and start new family, later on, the parent will call them to return since the parent cannot leave their children for long time so, they accept whatever mistake the children made as the children are always children in the eyes of parents and the children also may apologies for being obedient with parents and will return to parents.

Court marriage

Some of the couples when they are happy with each other’s and even their parents are agree to get marriage then they just will go to the court and get marriage certificate.

Elopement

Elopement is an old version of the Love marriage in Nepal and this type of marriage are practice in certain community or ethnic group in Nepal, when both boy and girl are happy and agree to marriage then they will do this marriage or if they love each other and want to get marriage but the parents are not agree then they will leave the family and elope from the society they live, I hope, people will not have to elope any more when all the individual will be educated and know the marriage is private affair of the people.

Polyandry system in Nepal

In the North West part of Nepal like Humla, Dolpo and Mustang, the people are practicing polyandry marriage system as well, and Nepal’s northern border with Tibet is a high Himalayan region inhabitant by Tibeto Burman Mongoloid people. The Tibetan speaking peoples of those areas are generally referred as Bhote (Tibetian) people. The polyandry system is taken as cause that helps them adapt well in the harsh ecological climatic condition as well as bind the family intact and hold the family properties together and there are certain reasons behind the polyandry tradition in these villages such as The farming land is little and production is very much less compared to the efforts for cultivating so, If all brothers of the families are married with different women that will lead to separation of the family which will results in the division of land and property which means less food production. Polyandry is no more a fashionable thing especially outside that area, residents of neighboring Nepali villages laugh at the polyandry husbands and Sharing wife is a shameful thing.” for others.

Generally sexual right of the wife is determined by age so the younger can have access only when the senior are absent. If all brothers are at home the younger’s ones have to make chance in day time on work field or some hiding places. Normally the brothers are involved in various works as herdsman, trader and field worker so there are rarer chances of being together .For harmony and family tranquility maintenance the role of wife is crucial in these families.

Note- However, the Number of polyandry families are decreasing in Nepal and this is not a cup of tea of young generation people and it is not legal to marry with many men in Nepal and I hope, it will improve when the economic status of the family will increase and they will not have to just depend in the land they have.

Polygamy

The Polygamy is an old culture in Nepali society as the Nepal was ruled by the monarchy and the kings of Nepal or the rich people of Nepal used to get marriage with 2 or more women and those used to be respected who used to have 2 or more wife as it was the culture of the Nepal however it is illegal to get marriage with 2 or more women in Nepal these days and for many reasons there are still some cases of this issue in Nepal and I think, it will improve when all the individual are educated and they will know and understand each other before they get many marriages.

Divorce in Nepal

According to the Nepali culture, the couples are made in heaven so, normally the cases of the divorces are rare in Nepal as it is a cultural issue and the women will tolerate even though they are suppressed by the husbands as the man of Nepal do not get marriage with those women who are already married and divorced and the men also have to pay or provide the half of his property when he get divorce so, they are not ready to divorce but these days, the divorce cases in Nepal are increasing cause of people do not want to live in suppression and people now are more educated so, they leave each other when they do not like each other.

Dowry system in Nepal

Every woman has to go to her husband‘s home when they are married in Nepali culture and this is a natural phenomena in the society of Nepal as well and the wife needs to take things/property to her in-laws home, which is called as “Dowry”.

Dowry can be the money, goods or estate that bride brings to groom home in her marriage and the Dowry is now can be defined as forced financial and material arrangement to be given by the parents of the bride to the parents of the groom as an essential condition of the marriage and It is one of the social evil but still practiced in our society as a culture and has become a serious problem in the Terai region of Nepal for the poor families who cannot offer property on their daughter’s wedding however it is illegal to demand the property from the groom family on his son marriage and I think it should be implemented strongly.

Raj Kumar Basnet

Raj Kumar Basnet

Hello, Hi & Namaste Everyone !

Raj Kumar Basnet holds more than two decades of travelling experience in different regions of Nepal. He has trekked in both popular and off-the-beaten-path Nepali trekking trails which have allowed him to gain expertise in tourism. With years of field experience under his belt, he is now concentrating on sharing as much of his tourism knowledge as possible. Now, the co-owner of Outfitter Nepal, he hopes that the knowledge he’s gained over the years would deem helpful for the travellers visiting Nepal!

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