Nepal, one of the very few countries with an existence history of around 300 years, is a beautiful land with independent hill stations all around adding to its majesty. The people, culture and rituals of Nepal vary from region to region, due to the existence of citizens with different castes and classes. The common language followed in the country is Nepali; otherwise, English is also commonly understood in various regions due to its popularity as a tourist destination.
Marriages in all religions or cultures are a special occasion to celebrate and enjoy, but in case of Nepal, marriages are said be an extravagant affair with a lot of rituals and customs followed. It’s a festive occasion to feast and party. Nepal in itself constitutes several ethnic groups and marriage rituals in Nepal vary according to their ethnic group. The matrimonies in Nepal are mostly arranged with only a few cases of love marriage and there is a trend of early marriage in the country, but obviously not before the age of eighteen. Nepali people prefer marrying their children in the same community or caste with the same social status and background.
The various ethnic groups present in Nepal are Thakuri, Brahman, Chhetri, Magar, Tharu, Newari, Sherpa, Limbu, Gurung, Rai, Thakali, Raute, Tamang and Chepang. The traditions for the marriage of all the groups vary according to their respective cultural practices. Every group has a different way to celebrate their happiness.
The common matrimony ceremonies which a Nepali Bride and Groom performs are:
Tika- tala or the engagement ceremony is the very step of the Nepali couple towards the beginning of their married life. this generally means the exchange of Tika or a red mark on the forehead, as a gesture of giving good wishes and blessings to the Nepali Bride and groom. The function is celebrated among the close family relatives and also the dates for the marriage and other ceremonies are fixed according to the auspicious dates suggested by the priest.
The matrimony of a Nepali couple is usually a three day event, with the marriage invitation been extended to a large number of people, generally to the whole village and relatives and friends from other cities and states. All the relatives and invitees for the marriage come at the groom’s place, from where all of them together heads towards the bride’s place. A lot of cost is involved in the marriage, for which the savings start right from the child’s birth.
In a Nepali matrimony, all the males of the from the groom’s side travel to the bride’s house in the form of a procession, called Janti, accompanied by a traditional band called Panche baja constituted of five instruments. The bride family welcomes the whole Janti with a big treat and all the other social rituals are followed after that. The Bride and the Groom wear traditional outfits with the bride wearing gold jewelry with mehandi on her hands. The ceremonies of the marriage are then started with the kanyadan signifying the giving away their daughter by the bride’s father, followed by the Swyambhar, where the Nepali bride and groom exchanges garlands with each other. Then the mandap ceremony takes place, where first the groom puts sindur on the forehead of the bride and after which the couple takes seven rounds in front of the sacred fire symbolizing their pledge to be each others partners for seven lives, with the priest chanting religious scriptures and declaring the bride and the groom as each others husband and wives.
The bidai or the Anmaune takes place after the wedding, which is an emotional affair as the bride leaves her parental house and heads towards her husband’s house to lead a new life. Then the people from the groom’s family moves back towards the groom’s house with the newly wedded couple, where they are welcomed by the Jante- Bakhro, the feast of a goat- meat along with the singing and dancing ceremonies marking the celebration for the matrimony.
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