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The most practiced marriage system found in the Nepali society is the magi- bihe (arranged marriage). Magi-bihe i.e. arranged marriage in Nepali Community unlike in other communities is finalized by the girl’s family when the boy’s family puts forward the proposal of marriage.
Generally, a relative acts as the middle man (lami) in marriage negotiations. The practice of comparing names by an astrologer, to see whether the proposed couple would make a good match, persists but it is done only in a perfunctory manner. Once the astrologer finds that the two people are good match, it is the job of the priests of the boy’s family to discover as auspicious date, based in the Lunar Calendar, and it remains for one to be chosen. Marriage is not done in all months of the year. In Chait (Mid March to Mid April) and Kartik totally avoided. Once, the groom’s party fixes the date, the bride’s parents are informed on the prescribed date, the groom goes with friends.
BRAHMANS AND CHHETRIES WEDDING:
The Brahmans and chhetries are followers of Hinduism and its rites and rituals mentioned in the Vedas, Purans and others scriptures. Their marriages and other rituals are very complex and elaborate. Inter-caste marriages are looked down upon and cross-cousin marriages are strictly prohibited. The priest who performs the marriage-ceremony is a Benaras-educated Sanskrit-reciting Brahmin.
The marriage is confirmed by conduction a tika talo ceremony where immediate family members of the bride and groom participate. The bride’s parents accept the groom as their to be son in law and put tika to the groom as well as bridge amongst chants by the priest.
Another important ceremony is the swayamvara where the bride and groom exchange garlands of flowers and gold engagement rings. The swayamvara takes place on the wedding day or few days before the wedding day.
On the wedding day few pujas are performed at the house with his family towards the bride house. The groom side is called the Janti. The whole Janti party is preceded by a musical band and is received with great respect and enthusiasm by the bride’s people at her home.
The most important part of the entire wedding ceremony is kanyadan when the parents of the bride make a gift of her to the groom. During the kanyadan the parents of the girl wash the feet of both bride and groom into a copper the girls they want to give to them. The groom received his bride as a gift and whatever dowry the parents are giving for the purpose of prestige is given at this time. The groom also ornament to the bride.
When the kanyadan is complete, the bridge is taken to be dressed up by the clothes and jewelries brought as present from the groom side. When she is thus dressed, she is carried outside the house into the courtyard where sacrificial fire is burning and all sorts of offerings of food for sacrifices and other articles for various rituals are in readiness. The bride and groom sit on one side of the quadrangle that is built for them to sit. They spend several hours in the courtyard performing rituals of various descriptions, sometimes going around quadrangle, sometimes worshipping and making offering to various deities like Ganesh, god of fire, sky, Earth, wind and water.
Gurungs have many traditional customs and usages but whenever the question of marriage arises, the cross cousin marriage is given preference. In Gurung community, matrimonial rites are observed with great fan fare as they consider wedding ceremony the most important event in life. In this community, nieces and nephews could be customarily tied in nuptial knots. In Gurung community the bride has absolute liberty to choose her birde- groom.
The boy’s family goes to the girl’s house with even numbers of men including the would-be bride-groom with several kinds of presents including a pot of rakshi (local hard liquor). The girl’s parents either accept the presents or return it back. The girl’s parents acceptance of the presents. In Gurung community, the age differences of 5 and 9 between the bride and bride groom is considered inauspicious.
As the wedding is finalized the bride’s family side seeks money, goat, lamb, liquor and wine from the bride-grooms family. This ritual is known as reet bujhaune which means book the girl.
In the next phase if matrimonial ceremony, the bride- groom’s family decides the date of wedding and sends it to the bride’s family with fresh fruits. This ritual is known assaipata. In case if the girl elopes with someone after the saipata ritual is completed, the girl.s family should refund the cash and kind to the boy’s family. This custom is known as jari tirne.
While some birde-grooms take away the bride with them at the very day of saipataritual and marry within six months, other set the auspicious time for wedding after consultations with the bride’s parents within seven days. Once, the time is set, the bride groom takes janti to bride’s house with band music. Upon reaching the bride’s house, they place pot full of yogurt, sweet breads and rakshi in front of the bride, waiting at the courtyard as it is not allowed into bride’s house. Those assembled in courtyard consume them.
The Guru initiates the wedding rituals while the family members compete in dancing and singing throughout the night. The following morning, the bride’s parents and family perform the goda dhoi (foot washing) ceremony. Next, the bride send-off procedure beings as the bride-groom parents offer presents to elderly relatives of the bride. The bride’s parents themselves with other relatives escort the bride to her new home.
Ihipaa denotes various rituals and social ceremonies that are performed for Newari marriage. The rituals differ according to caste.
The parents arrange marriage for their sons and daughter. After the groom’s and bride’s families decision, the marriage is confirmed by giving 10 betel nuts along with fruits, sweets etc(known as lakha) known as Supari lane from groom’s family to the bride.
Once the wedding is fixed a party is organized at the brides side usually a day before the wedding day. The invites bring their gifts for the girls while those attending the grooms wedding party do not have to take any gifts. The mothers gives her a box for keeping vermillion powder, and her father members give away bronze mirror while other family members give away bronze utensils on the day of departure that usually takes place the next morning of the wedding party. However, this may be arranged according to the convenience of the both the parties. The next day the groom and the janti arrive at the girl’s house. The members are entertained again with welcoming gestures along a small party where alcohol is a must.
The Swayamvara takes place; this is the time when the groom puts the sindur on the head. As the prolonged rituals is completed by the Newari priest also known as ‘Gubaju’ from the Bajracharya clan, the marriage is concluded with a sad ritual known as ‘gwe biu’ or betel nuts presented by bride to her family members in exchange of gifts. This is a symbolic act of giving away the girl to new family. This is regarded as the most important and emotional moment for the girls family. She is then carried by her maternal uncle from the house to the car where groom is waiting for her to take away. The janti or possession follows the beautiful decorated car of bride-groom accompanied by a band to the groom’s house. This is the joyous moments for the groom side. They dance all the way to the groom’s house.
Photo on flickr: ubin_malla
On the groom’s house, the bride is welcomed at the gate by her mother-in-law; the mother gives her a key and takes her into the house. Inside, a priest completes the ritual, invoking and offering food to various deities. At the end, the bride distributes betel nuts to all members of the family including the groom. This day’s ceremony is completed as the bride and groom eat ritual food from the same plate.
The day after that the bride is taken to the family deity where the family priest conducts a ceremony. The bride’s family visit the groom’s house with sweets and fruits on the 4th day, to see how the bride is being treated, where is known as khwah soye (seeing the bride’s face).
The Sherpa custom does not allow marriage between members of the same, clan group. In Sherpa culture, the bride-groom’s elders go to the bride’s mother and ask for the girl. When making the proposal, a wooden pot-full of wine (raksi) is customarily offered to the bride’s mother as an initial ritual of the Sherpa matrimonial process. When she agrees to the proposal, the loudly speaks ‘Demzyangchhya’ three times the engagement is made. Then after, the bride parents ask about the Tizyanchhya(number of people coming in marriage procession to the bride’s house). After the negotiation completes, the bride’s family send invitation to the bride grooms’ family writing the number of people initially agreed upon to join the marriage procession, coming to the bride’s house. This ritual is called ‘pezyangchhya’.
The Lamas put both the bride and bride groom at one place and recite mantras which the bride and groom duo chat with him. Later, ghee (purified butter) mixed with herbs is applied to the bodies of both bride and bride groom. After this ceremony is completed, the groom applies sindur on the head of the bride. The following day, the bride groom is send off with the bride amid great festivity of dancing, singing and drinking. At the bride-sending-off period, the bride groom, once again, apply sindhuron the head of the bride.
At the grooms place they are welcomed by the family and relatives. The rice-wine (jaand) is offered to everyone present. The parents of the bride and bride groom formally meet and exchange words of mutual benefits. Later, the bride’s parent is sent off after serving them with jaand and other food stuffs.
Later, the bride and the bride groom are again made to sit at a place together at their Guru Lama’s presence. The lama offers blessing to the newly wedded couple and the bride groom.
To welcome the newly wedded bride, the bride groom’s family welcomes her with fruits, jaand etc. The bride is made to eat Prasad (the fruits and jaand) before she is allowed to enter the room.
More info on Matrimonial Rites in Nepal, Go through this Link: Yentra.com