Marriage Rituals: Contrasting High and Low Caste Customs

Get Started. It's Free
or sign up with your email address
Marriage Rituals: Contrasting High and Low Caste Customs by Mind Map: Marriage Rituals: Contrasting High and Low Caste Customs

1. Marriage in Nepal

1.1. Marriage is a deeply important ritualized Hindu practice; part of the life of a Hindu person

1.2. Very common; expected; nearly everyone marries, regardless of caste

1.3. Typically always arranged

1.4. Socially structured; some must borrow money in order to afford their children’s marriages

1.5. Marriage continues the patrilineal traditions

1.6. Very rarely do people step outside of the traditional sense of marriage

1.7. High and low caste marriages are very similar

1.8. Both high and low caste marriages are officiated by a related Brahmin priest

1.9. Marriage reinforces the societal importance of dominance and hierarchy

1.10. Marriage asserts social position within the family

2. Family Relations as a Result of Marriage

2.1. Upon marriage, women move into their husband’s families home. At first they are outsiders, however in time they become majority players in regards to reproduction and orchestrating everyday family life.

2.2. Husbands and wives are encouraged to be kind and cooperative to one another

2.3. Mother-in-law and daughter-in-law relationship is complicated; can be bitter rivals, friends, or very loving. The ritualistic ideal that is encouraged has the two as allies.

2.4. Strict rules regarding who a wife may interact with in her husband’s family. Almost no contact is acceptable with brothers-in-law who are older than her husband, though with brothers-in-law who are younger, they are expected to maintain extremely close, sisterly relations.

3. Low Caste Marriage: Brideprice/ Chori Betchnu

3.1. Contributes to greater power for (low caste) women

3.2. Brideprice disrupts the balance of power, enabling women to gain power in their marriages, and can eliminate male power

3.3. Rituals emphasize cooperation in the husband-wife relations

3.4. Commonly known as “selling daughters” because that is basically what this practice entails

3.5. Seen as a privilege for lower caste women

3.6. Exchange of women for monetary value instead of ritual value in viewing her as a “gift”

3.7. Low caste women are noted for their economic value

3.8. A low caste woman with greater economic value and autonomy is not highly revered by her family; independence = less economic value

3.9. Brides’ parents see nothing wrong with exchaning their daughters for money for their daughters because their daughters will be leaving them to work for another family, who will profit from her labor

4. Wedding Rituals

4.1. The Hindu wedding, regardless of caste, is a highly ritualized process.

4.2. Often follow themes from the sacred Hindu texts

4.3. Puja to worship the nine planet gods is done by the high castes; the low castes “do not make a show of worship like the high castes.” (Cameron 213)

4.4. Astrology is an important tool used to plan weddings, and also provide proof as to whether or not the couple is ideally matched

4.5. The giving of jewelry to the wife, from the husband’s family is a customary status symbol. Silver or gold are acceptable; finished brass is seen as low quality.

4.6. Money is requested and seen as even greater importance than jewelry during the marital exchanges

4.7. The color red is emphasized greatly during Hindu weddings. The bride wears red garments exclusively, as it is a deep symbol of fertility.

5. High Caste Marriage/ Kanyadan

5.1. Kanyadan: a high caste practice, known as a “gift of a virgin” and is the most prestigious form of marriage

5.2. High caste marriages are focused on the patriline

5.3. Wife is bound by duties that require her to be subservient to the male-controlled patriarchal social structure

5.4. For those who practice kanyadan, a bride’s virginity is a source of male power and prestige, landing brides into roles of subservience

5.5. In this familial exchange, the bride’s parents make dowry payments to the groom’s, and the property involved in this transaction are generally considered (with some limitations) to belong to the wife.