• Last Updated on Oct 1, 2022

Marriage System in Nepal

Marriage ceremonies are an important event in everyone’s life, and the way to arrange marriage events is different in different parts of the world. We have tried to describe how marriages are arranged in Nepal. Nepal has its style of marriage system, and there are different types of ways to get married here. Find some of the traditions of marriage in Nepal.

Table of Contents

Arranged Marriages in Nepal

Arranged marriage is popular in Hindu culture in Nepal, and the Hindus believe that marriages are made in heaven. Once the son or daughter becomes at the age of marriage, the parents look for the groom or bride through relatives or people they know. They can be called middlemen, or we call “Lami” in Nepali.

Once, the groom or bride is found, the parents will go to the Astrologers/priests to consult, check, and confirm if the bride and the groom are made for each other or not. 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 to both families is involved in all arrangements of the Wedding. Weddings start with the determination of the precise dates set by the astrologers.

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

First, the groom goes to the bride with his family, friends, and relatives (who is called Janti in Nepali). The wedding ceremony 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 that does not dry thus indicating the relationship will never break or dry). The groom wears a Nepali national dress called “Daura Suruwar with Topi” or Coat and pants as well and the bride wears heavy gold jewelry and a 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 becomes exclusively his and has to wear “sindoor and pote” as long as she is married and pray for her husband's long life.

Nepali Traditional Marriage

At last, the laughter fades, and the shedding of tears begins as the farewell ritual starts. The wedding is followed by a grand reception. A 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. The bride returns home with his wife then the marriage ceremony is completed.

Love marriages in Nepal

This type of marriage is becoming more popular in Nepal these days. There is no option of choosing a life partner in an arranged marriage. So, the new generation has started to choose their life partner themself. If the parents of both families agree with their choice, they arrange the wedding according to the Arranged marriage.

If any of the family is not agree then they leave the family and get married themselves and start a new family, later on, the parent calls them to return since the parent cannot leave their children for a 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 apologize for being obedient to parents and will return to their parents.

Court marriages in Nepal

Some the couples, when they are happy with each other and their parents also agree to get married. They just go to the court and get a marriage certificate.

Elopement marriages in Nepal

Elopement is an old version of the Love marriage in Nepal, and this type of marriage is practiced in a certain community or ethnic group in Nepal. When both boys and girls are happy and agree to marriage then they will do this marriage or if they love each other and want to get married, but the parents do not agree then they leave the family and elope from the society.

I hope, people do not have to elope anymore when all the individuals will be educated and know that marriage is a private affair of the people.

Polyandry system in Nepal

In the northwest part of Nepal like Humla, Dolpo, and Mustang, the people are practicing a polyandry marriage system as well. 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 to as Bhote (Tibetian) people. The polyandry system is taken as a cause that helps them adapt well to the harsh ecological climatic condition as well as bind the family intact and hold the family properties together.

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 to different women that lead to separation of the family, which will result in the division of land and property.

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, the sexual right of the wife is determined by age. So, the younger can have access only when the senior is absent. If all brothers are at home the younger ones have to take a chance in the daytime on the work field or some hiding places.

Normally, the brothers are involved in various works as herdsmen, traders, and field workers, so there are rarer chances of being together. For harmony and family tranquility maintenance, the role of the wife is crucial in these families.

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

Polygamy System in Nepal

Polygamy is an old culture in Nepali society as Nepal was ruled by the monarchy. The kings of Nepal or the rich people of Nepal used to get married to two or more women, and those who used to be respected used to have two or more wives as it was the culture of Nepal.

However, it is illegal to get married to 2 or more women in Nepal. There are still some cases of this issue in Nepal. I think it improves when all the individuals are educated, and they will know and understand each other before they get into many marriages.

Divorce cases in Nepal

According to the Nepali culture, couples are made in heaven. So, normally the cases of divorces are rare in Nepal. It is a cultural issue and the women tolerate it even though they are suppressed by their husbands.

The men of Nepal do not get married to those women who are already married and divorced, and the men also have to pay or provide half of their property when he gets divorced. So, they are not ready to divorce. The divorce cases in Nepal are increasing cause 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. This is a natural phenomenon in the society of Nepal as well, and the wife needs to take things/property to her in-law's home, which is called “Dowry”.

Dowry can be the money, goods, or estate that the bride brings to the groom's home in her marriage. Dowry is now can be defined as a forced financial and material arrangement to be given by the parents of the bride to the parents of the groom as an essential condition.

It is one of the social evils 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 the property at their daughter’s wedding. However, it is illegal to demand property from the groom's family on his son married and I think it should be implemented strongly.

Conclusion

Nepal is a small Himalayan country, which is located between China (Tibet) and India. You know that there are many ways to get married even though it is a small country.

Furthermore, Nepal is popular for Trekking and cultural heritage tours. The most popular Treks are the Everest Base Camp Trek, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Annapurna Circuit Trek, Langtang Circuit Trek, Manaslu Circuit Trek, and many others. It is popular for cultural tours. Kathmandu Day Tour, Pokhara Tour, Chitwan Tour & Lumbini Tour are the most popular in Nepal.

Arjun Rijal

Arjun Rijal

Hello, Hi & Namaste from the Himalayas !!!

I am Arjun Rijal, Founder Director of the Outfitter Himalaya Holidays P. Ltd & working as a travel planner/consultant for Nepal, Bhutan, and Tibet Travel. I love hiking, trekking, and traveling.

I have been in most of the trekking regions in Nepal, that include Everest Base Camp, Annapurna Base camp, Annapurna Circuit, Manaslu, and Langtang. I also have travelled to Bhutan, India & planning further travel to many other countries in the world.

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