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Marriage Customs in Nepal (Traditions and Wedding Ceremonies Among Various Nepalese Ethnic Groups)

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Item Code: NAM352
Author: Indra Majupuria and Trilok Chandra Majupuria
Publisher: Majupuria
Language: English
Edition: 2009
Pages: 238, (116 B/W and 16 Color Illustrations)
Cover: Paperback
Other Details 8.0 inch x 5.5 inch
Weight 290 gm
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Shipped to 153 countries
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Book Description
About the Author

Indra Majupuria. M.A. (Economics and Sociology), B.Ed. is a sociologist and psychologist. She had been teaching for about 28 years at various leves including 7 years as Asst. Professor in the Institute of Education, Kirtipur Campus, Tribhuvan University. She has written several books as a co-author and as an independent author. Her outstanding publications are: Nepalese Women, Joys of Nepalese Cooking, Tibetan Cooking, etc. Her main interests are in the social, cultural and education fields. She has worked on various projects and has written a number of articles for popular auidence. She has travelled in several countries viz. Kuwait, Thailand, Japan, Hongkong, U.K., U.S.A., Canada, Singapore, Malaysia, etc. At present she is working on some rearch projects on Nepalese Women and Kumari (Living Virgin Goddess).

Trilok Chandra Majupuria. Masters of Science (M.Sc.), Doctor of Philosophy (Ph. D.), Doctor of Science (D.Sc.), Formerly Senior Scientist in U.S.A. and Professor of Zoology, Tribhuvan University Kathmandu, Nepal. He has been teaching for 56 years and guiding Ph.D and D.Sc. students for last several decades. He has written several books on Nepal, the notable ones being: Sacred and Useful Plants and Trees of Nepal, Nepal: The Land of Festivals, Marriage Customs of Nepal, Youth of Nepal, Glimpses of Nepal, Peerless Nepal, Pashupatinath, Complete Guide to Nepal, etc. Two most scholarly books he has authored and edited on natural history of Nepal are: Wild is Beautiful, Introduction to Wildlife and Fauna of Nepal. The other book is Nepal-Nature's Paradise, which gives an insight into diverse facets of the country's topography, flora and ecology. He has edited some scholarly and informative books viz., Wildlife Wealth of India, Butterflies of Nepal, Magnificent Nepal Himalaya. He has got a wide interest in various fields. He has been on a lecture tour to several universities, speaking on natural and cultural ecology of Nepal together with other zoological topics. His interest in the field of socio-biology is deep. He has also participated in various international seminars and has visited several countries viz., Lebanon, Italy, France, Germany, U.K., U.S.A., Thailand, Hongkong, Japan, Canada, Switzerland, India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Austria, Greece, United Arab Emirates, China, etc. He has got to his credit about 100 research papers, 1000 popular articles and 30 books on Zoology published in Germany, America, Thailand, India, etc. He is fellow of several international associations. His several books are translated in Thai, German, French, Japanese, etc. Besides, Professor Majupuria has visited many Zoological Gardens and has also worked in American Museum of Natural History, Newyork as a Senior Scientist.

Prof. Majupuria had special audience with King and Queen of Japan, Thailand, Nepal, Prince of U.K., Princesses of Thailand, Presidents of U.S.A., India, Prime Ministers of Thailand, India, Nepal, Nobel Laureates, International Professors and Scholars.


Our visits to the Occidental and Oriental parts of the world viz., Lebanon, Rome, Germany, France, Holland, England, America, Canada, Japan, Hongkong, Thailand, etc. presented before us a broad spectrum of people truly and genuinely interested in the cultural and natural ecology of Nepal. Lectures delivered in series and a bunch of the original kaleidoscopic coloured transparencies displayed on the various scientific and cultural subjects about Nepal at various universities, natural history museums and research organizations helped the authors feel elated, privileged and induced to bring exotic facts close to those who have neither seen nor imagined. The natural ecology of Nepal came to them as a puzzling one. However, cultural ecology was equally fantastic. After our lectures, we always devoted adequate time to answer the curious as well as interesting questions put to us. The question of marriage-customs in Nepal, being one of basic and highly significant cultural aspects, figured as the most prominent one.

Once we were invited to a dinner in New York by a zoologist-professor-couple. We saw a young girl about 14 years of age sitting by the side of a boy on a small chair. We presumed them to be the children of the couple. In course of introduction, the professor told us that the girl was his daughter and the boy was her boy- friend. He whispered, "the third boy-friend". We were amazed, and we inquisitively asked the lady professor, "How many friends have you had?" Quick was her response, "several". However, they now seem to feel quite repugnant to the idea of having boy-friends.

A couple was keen to know how we were married. Our narration that our marriage was arranged by our parents, of course with our consent aroused extreme surprise on their part and they said in America, 'It is unbelievable, as we have generally trial marriages'. In course of such a talk, several questions pertaining to marriage-customs in different ethnic groups of Nepal also arose.

Once, while flying from San Francisco to Honolulu, a European passenger very gently and courteously approached us to have a chat with us in our aerial voyage. He wanted to be enlightened on an interesting question which always puzzled him. "Why don't Hindu girls like to marry non-Hindu boys generally?" was his querry. We told him that Hindus prefer to marry within the area of their castes and subcastes as it ensures greater homogeneity and identity of views resulting in the smooth sailing of life. We asked him, "Why are you interested in Hindu girls?" His reply was, "They are more devoted to their husbands".

The Director of a Cancer Research Institute in Paris was extremely curious to know about the erotic and amorous couples depicted on the temples of Kathmandu and Khajuraho (India) and about their symbolical significance. After our lecture, we were asked several questions such as "Are Hindu marriages always undivorceable? Why is there a long paraphernalia in Hindu marriages? How is a Sherpa married? And so on."

Whenever we travelled, we felt that the Hindu style of marriage has left a serious impact and created a big curiosity in the minds of people to go deep down in its customs and traditions so as to resolve some ticklish questions. "How can a Hindu couple live together for the whole life? Doesn't it lead to monotony and boredom?" were their exciting questions.

Each new contact has generated abundant possibilities in future. Therefore, these contacts and interesting questions have helped this work to take a concrete shape. Another reason, which is also in no way less significant than the former one, is the sociological and scientific value of the institution of marriage in Nepal. Nepal is a country of about 4022 village-panchayats which also have many small unnoted hamlets. Each Nepalese village is unique in its social organization and customs. It is also a land of several ethnic groups. No picture of the social system in Nepal can, therefore, be adequate and all-embracing without a study and analysis of the various aspects connected with the social system from the sociological and scientific point of view, Marriage, thus being a very significant institution in itself, helped our endeavour to work it out.

Various types of marriage customs are in fashion in Nepal the like of which may not be found anywhere in the world. The scanning of literature also did not provide ample necessary reference materials into this topic.

First of all, a study of the ethnic groups and their distribution in Nepal formed the starting-point. To achieve the objective desired and do a fair amount of justice to this self-assigned task, we travelled quite a lot in the country ranging from the hills to the Terai. For wider coverage, we discussed and sought information by means of personal interviews and case-studies with the couples of different ethnic groups.

To our great surprise, we have noted differences and variations, nay the sharper ones, in the marriage customs not only of races, castes or subcastes but even in different families belonging to the same group of people. So, we were lost in obscurity. Gradually, we planned for more generalisations in our descriptions. Obviously, any description of marriage customs and traditions cannot be said to be truly representative of all such cases. This is due to ever-growing migration, education and other influences. For example, marriage customs among several sophisticated and educated tribes living in Kathmandu are completely different and very deceptive too. Very few of these represent the original community. The reason for this is that they are de-tribalised and they have lost contact with their place of origin. They have forgotten even their language, and their association with the parent community is lost due to their contact with more advanced educated families of urban areas.

In course of our treatment of the topic of the marriages among different ethnic groups, we have not mentioned the money given in dowry, compensation, fine for adultery, etc. as these vary from place to place and depend on the financial status of the persons involved.

For making the book interesting we have also added some common features of Indian Hindu marriage.

In connection with the production of this book, thanks are due to Shri Gaja Sundar Pradhan for thoroughly revising it.

We are quite confident that the book will not only throw light on the marriage customs in Nepal but also provide answers to several questions which may have been puzzling us in this respect.

We look forward to forming a warm rapport and keeping inquisitive, suggestive and constructive correspondence with the readers to further enhance the value of this book.

Last but not least, our thanks go to Mr. Sushil Bajracharya for his meticulous typing as usual in our other publications.


Preface 1
I.The Essence of Marriage6
II.Institution of Marriage15
III.Marriages and Conjugal Relations28
IV.Dowry (Daijo)36
V.Child Marriage40
VI.Different Forms of Vedic Marriage44
VII.Some Common Features of Indian Hindu Marriage51
VIII.Differences in Vedic Marriages as practised in India and Nepal58
IX.Vedic Hindu Marriage in Nepal61
X.Ethnic Groups of Nepal72
XI.Royal Marriage100
XII.Marriage Customs in Important Ethnic Groups:
(a)Marriage Customs among the people of the Middle Hill and Valleys:
3.Newars, (a) Bel Marriage or ihn. (b) Actual Marriage120
4.Marriage among Kirants140
9.Sunwars and Jirels172
10.Chepangs, 175
(b)Marriage Customs among the People of High Himalayas:
2.Some other Himalayan People187
2a. Lhomi187
2b. Baragaunle187
2c. Dolpo People188
2d. Manangba189
2e. Olangchung People189
(c)Marriage Customs among the People of Terai:
2.Danwars, Majhis and Darais202
6.Dimals and Bodos209
XIII.Selected References213

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