08 August 2017 | Arjun Rijal
Marriage ceremonies are important event of every one’s life and the way to arrange the marriage events are different in different parts of the world and here, in Nepal, we have tried to describe how marriage are arranged.
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. They 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.