Tibetan marriage custom is mainly influenced by your source close connect environment and our belief systems. The marriage one of the primary social institutions in Tibet. The practice of polyandry in very common in rural Tibet. Yet in the urban areas, the practice of Monogamy is more prominent. Our marriage system has more closely associated with the social aspect of our life rather than a religious life. Traditionally all the marriage are arranged by elder members of the family members.
Our traditional way of marriage would be of four stages; Matchmaking, bride-fetching, wedding and bride’s returning home.
Stages of Traditional Tibetan Marriage custom
The most important and most complicating part of our Tibetan marriage customs is the Matchmaking. Every household has an elder members taking responsibility of all the other members of the family member. Without his or her permission no one will make a big decision in their life. We also believe that our elders have a better sense of life and financial knowledge and their decision to marrying into a family is critical for once life.
So once when a girl liked a boy or a boy liked a girl, he or she would ask his or her elders to go and talk to other family members. If the family members would not know each other they would ask a common friend for both families to be the bridge.
Then elder of initiating ( usually a boy family) would visit the other family bringing gifts, tea, and Tibetan beer. If the opposite family accept the gift it is a good indication that there would accept the proposal.
Yet, the decision of the marriage would not make immediately they would discuss it with a family member and consult oracle for the prediction. While making a final decision, the family orientation of the family would consider, the Caste of the both family would be considered, and the religion would also be considered too.
Once when the decision is made the elder from both families would gather in the girls house and decide about the marriage. and the boy family would put an arrow wrap in the different color cloth to mark that she is already engaged. it is like an engagement ring in the western culture.
The second stage of our marriage is bride fetching. the time of the bride fetching differs with distance to the boy family. If there are both in the same locality the boys party would come to get the bride in the morning the marriage.
The bride fetching party will be all males friends and family members. Once elder would come to as a chief representative of the boy family to announce they are taking their bride. they will also bring the wedding dress made by the boys family and the bride will have to wear it for the marriage.
After the bride wears the wedding dress the family priest will perform a ritual for her well bring in a new family. She will be she friend or sister to be with her for the entire wedding ceremony. the boys party will take the bride and bride friend with them.
During the procession of bride leaving the home, the oldest lady in the family would go to the rooftop of the house and she will shout “don’t bring our good luck charm”. she will be holding the arrow warp in five color cloth.
the girls family member would go to the wedding venue in a difference party. it is a must for the girls parent to be present for the wedding.
the wedding begins as the girl and her friend would enter the boys house. the local people of the village would sings and dance as she walks towards the new family.
the new family would welcome her to the house by offering her Chang Tibetan beer and offer bowl full of tsampa, which pinch a bit and places it on her forehead and prays, she will then throw into the air as an offering to god. while other are busy in the welcome procession, they will be an old women from this family, shouting on the roof top ask the bring the good luck charm to this family.
As the girl enters the house she and her husband make prostration to the family altar and offer white scarf. they will then sit in order. first, the boys parent would site, then the new couple and then the girls parent would sit. after this, all the family and friends will come in line to offer white scarf and give the gifts to the new couple and their parent.
We often say, unlike other marriages customs our Tibetan marriage custom is more like family marriages rather than an individual marriage. after the marriage, both families is emotionally bonded together and would often meet and offer to help. the wedding ceremony itself will last from one to three days. Usually
The Tibetan wedding ceremony itself will last from one to three days. Usually, the first day is open for public and everyone will be welcomed, the second day is usually for the closed friends and relative and the third days is usually for the family members.
Bride returning home is the final stages in Our Tibetan marriage custom. it usually happens after three or six months after the formal wedding day. the bride family will prepare for her return by preparing everything their daughter would love to eat and wear. in a technical sense, she returns her home to tell her to parent everything is well there and she is going well.
Some fact about Tibetan marriage customs which outsiders would find weird.
- Our marriage is not only a marriage of a husband and the wife. rather is a marriage between two families.
- We practice arrange marriages and in some case, the bride is seeing her husband for the first time during the marriage.
- Consent of the elderly member of both parties is very important.
- But bride and groom may meet and fall in love and start all the process with their initiatives. Nowadays all the bride and broom would be in relation to a very time and they initiate the entire process of marriage.
Polyandry, monogamy or Polygamy
In the rural Tibet, the practice of the Polyandry marriage is practice. the reason is to save the Human power resources and prevent the division of family wealth. In this marriage once when bride moves to her in-law family she becomes a common wife to all the brother. yet the eldest border would be referred as her real husband and all the child from this marriage will call the eldest brother as their father and uncle to all the other brothers even if they are fathered by younger brothers.
In urban setup and the Monogamy, marriage is the predominant. and the marriages are mainly base on the love affair between two parties rather than two families.
traditionally, the practice of Polygamy is practiced by the high Lama lineages in Nyingmapas and Sakyas, and Noble families. this is to ensure the continuity of their heritage. Only the son will heir their fathers and Son is a must for the continuation of the lineage.