Marriage is the union of two souls who are bonded legally and socially for life. Nepal is a multireligious, multicultural and multi-ethnical country so marriage is performed according to its culture and tradition. Ritual varies among different ethnic groups.
While some wedding rituals may be usual for their ethnic groups, others may find them strange. Here are some of the pretty odd marriage rituals practiced by various ethnic groups in Nepal.
1. Lakhmari daijo scale
At the Newari wedding, lakhmari, a hard bread covered with sugar is used to determine how much daijo to give. The bridal family is gifted lakhmari by the groom’s family during the Gwe ceremony with close family members. The lakhmari is broken in a cultural ceremony and the ones who get the bigger half of the lakhmari have to gift something heavy to the bride. The gift should not be any lighter than a bronze Pitcher. A sweet determining how much daijo to give is weird and unique as well.
2. Knocking the head
If you have pent-up anger with your brother you will surely love this wedding ritual. Priests recite mantras in front of the bride and groom sitting on the ground at a Thami wedding. Then the boy’s brother knocks on the head of the bride and groom six times and the marriage ceremony continues.
3. Chyang offering
In Sherpa marriages, the groom’s family offers a jar of chyang, a traditional sherpa barley beer to the bride’s family. If the bride’s family accepts the jar, the marriage proposal is accepted and the girl becomes a member of that family.
4. Shouting groom
In the Sangtan caste, there is a weird custom to bring a girl by shouting, then to quarrel and discuss, and finally to arrange the marriage.
5. Breastfeeding before the procession
In Lepchas, an indigenous people of Nepal, it is especially customary to get married. Marriage is usually completed after one and a half to three years of marriage. Meanwhile, the boy has to stay at the girl’s house which is very interesting and odd at the same time considering the girl has to stay at the boy’s house in every other marriage. Before going to the procession, the groom should breastfeed on the mother and bow down with money on the mother’s knees to pay for the milk.
6. No vermillion in sherpa’s wedding
In the Yolmo community, it is not customary to put vermillion in the marriage. It is considered to have been consummated after the bride and groom were vaccinated with a flower (a type of tree) by the Lama.
7. Marrying your cousin
Another weird practice is from the syangtan caste of mustang where interracial marriage is banned and is customary to marry the daughter of an aunt or uncle.
8. Within your clan
In the Sunuwar caste, they can marry sister-in-law and sister-in-law’s daughter.
9. Pay the char
In the Magar community, there is a tradition of ‘covering the girl’, in which a girl who has reached the age of 16 is deceived, forcibly caught, dragged away, and married. A few months after the marriage, the bride and groom go to the in-laws, and it is said to pay “char”. Paying” char” is the amount of money to be paid as a penalty for freeing a girl from the arms of her parents. The girl’s mother-in-law has to go to return the step only after paying the fare and at the same time the marriage ceremony is completed and the daughter-in-law is sent off with dowry.
10. Bring a large bottle
In the Baram caste, the boy’s side should bring a bottle of liquor when they first ask for a girl. If the proposal is accepted, they should bring an even large bottle next time.
11. Exchange system
In the Tharu community, marriage is performed in two ways. Either one must either give a girl in exchange for another or pay the bride’s price. This basically means the bride’s younger brother should marry the sister of the groom and vice-versa.
12. Drinking the water from feet
In a brahmin wedding, during the kaanyadaan ceremony, the bride’s family washes the feet of the daughter and son-in-law with water and sprinkles or drinks the water. This ritual might come as strange and even unhealthy to most people.
13. Seal the deal
In a Dhurikhawa marriage, a traditional Gurung marriage in the Parbat district, the marriage is conducted in absence of the groom. Dhurikhawa literally means ‘pillar’ and is a kind of a marriage where the bride is supposedly married to a pillar. It is specially done because many young boys from the community seek recruitment in Nepal, India, or British Gurkha armies and may not be home for a long period of time so, the union is sealed until the groom return to the village from abroad.