A wedding is not just a ceremony – it is a celebration of the connection between two souls!
Indeed a wedding is not just a ceremony in Nepal – but a celebration of a bond between two souls and families through marriage. This concept is not just applicable in Nepal but all over the world.
Despite this, Nepali weddings are still somehow special – mostly because of the significance it has on our lives and a few unique aspects.
But how much do you really know about Nepali weddings?
Here we have a list of 9 things about Nepali weddings that you need to know. Among these, some of you may already know quite a bit so do keep a lookout for things that you do know and let us know them in the comments below. For now, Let’s get on with the list.
This is one of the first things that comes to our mind when we think of a Nepali wedding besides food and dresses. For those who don’t know, Janti is a procession that follows a groom as he arrives at the wedding. This procession primarily consists of the groom’s relatives and close friends but in a big wedding, Janti can even include the entire community of the groom.
As you may have expected this procession is filled with music and the relatives and neighbors of the groom leave no tables unturned during this celebration.
Besides Janti, there is one more significant image that comes to mind with the word “marriage” or “wedding” – Sindoor. For the westerners, a sindoor may just look like a crimson powder which but in a Nepali wedding, this seemingly ordinary powder signifies a bond between a man and a woman as husband and wife.
And yes, it is only worn by married women. While it is normally worn between the hair partitions, it can also be worn by making a small circle at the start of the hairline.
If you still have no idea what a sindoor is and what it signifies, think of it as a Hindu version of a wedding ring that states the marital status of a woman.
3) Tilhari and Pote
Similar to Sindoor, Tilhari and Pote are also a sign of married women and are only worn by them. This necklace made from beads and a small gold piece is basically a symbol of married women in Nepal.
Tilhari- which is made from gold is only worn during festivals and other special occasions. As for the Pote (Beads), married women are expected to wear this every day. While this practice of wearing Pote every day has decreased a bit with the onset of modernization and the spread of western culture, it is still practiced by a wide range of women.
Needless to say this seemingly ornamental necklace of beads is a significant part of a women’s life.
This is one of those classic aspects of the marriage ceremony of Hindu culture that was popularized by Indian Cinema.
While traditionally, Mehendi or Henna was used as a medicinal paste, in modern times, it has become more of temporary body art for women during ceremonies. In marriage, Mehendi plays an important role as there is a belief that goes something like “the darker the color of Mehendi, the happier the married life of the bride”.
Secret note* There is a wide held belief that Mehendi acts as an aphrodisiac and the darker the Mehendi, the greater its effect in this aspect.
This is an integral part of any Newari wedding. You go to the bride, you greet them and the first thing that you receive is a bunch of supari. A question may pop in your mind – Why?
Well for those who don’t know, giving a supari signifies respect and acceptance in Newari culture. So a bride giving you supari is basically her way of saying that she accepts you to be the witness of her wedding and respectfully invites you to enjoy the time there.
Besides this, a bride also hands 10 supari starting from the oldest members to the youngest ones. Each member keeps one and returns the rest of the supari and this is a way of accepting the groom’s family as her own and paying respects to them. At the same time, this act of accepting the supari from the bride also signifies the family members accepting her into their family.
Side notes* Supari is called Betel nut in English It is also considered to be a sign of fertility in Nepali weddings
6) Bowing to Family members and Groom
When you bow to someone you lower your head to them, which leaves you in a vulnerable position as your neck is wide open. So naturally, you only bow to people whom you trust and respect.
Now you may already know this, but for those who don’t, you are expected to bow to the family members in a Nepali wedding to show your respect and acknowledge them. By doing this you are not only showing your respects to them but also allowing them to bless you as well.
While this is a serious display of respect and acceptance in a Nepali wedding, it can be a bit awkward while bowing down to someone who is much younger than you.
7) Significance of Diyo, Kalash, and Kush
In Hindu culture, Diyo is a representation of peace, prosperity, and purity while Kalash represents the harmony between the 5 elements of earth and the cosmos. The water inside the Kalash is also considered to be the elixir of life as well. At the same time, Kush is a holy grass that represents Lord Vishnu’s essence.
So needless to say, these three things are an important part of a Nepali wedding, especially when it comes to Hindu Culture. But, did you know that during the wedding, the bride and groom exchange rings made from Kush before the ceremony to purify their relationship?
This is a relatively modern practice that has spread all over Nepal. At a Nepali wedding, you are expected to bring gifts for the bride and groom. And before you say anything – No it is not a dowry.
While the dowry system is still practiced in Nepal (sadly) we are not talking about that here. Rather this expectation of gift from those who come to the wedding is more like “expectation of goodwill from the guests”
While it is not mandatory to give gifts during a Nepali wedding, you will be expected to bring one. But that being said, it really doesn’t matter what gift you give as long as you have a sensible one.
9) Marriage duration
Nepali marriages are not conducted within one day – at least not normally. If one follows the complete process, the marriage ceremony will take 3 days at the very minimum. Besides, there is a lot to be done as well including but not limited to Janti, Purwanga, and Kanyadaan. Besides these, there are parties as well.
So if you are someone who is a close friend of a bride/groom or a neighbor, you can take a few days off from work and be prepared to get involved in marriage for a few days.
Needless to say, with all the cultures and different ways in which marriage is conducted in Nepal, this list is nowhere near complete. But it should be enough to let you know the gist of what to expect during a Nepali marriage.
Hope you found this helpful. If you have any suggestions for us, do let us know them down in the comments below. And as always, thank you for reading till the end.
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