Tibetan marriage custom and wedding ceremony

Tibetan marriage custom and the wedding ceremony 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 wisdom of life. Their decision to marrying into a family is important 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 does 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 the oracle for the prediction.  While making a final decision, the family orientation would consider. The Caste and religion of both families would be considered.

Once when the decision is made. The elder from both families would gather in the girl’s house and decide about the marriage. After this, 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 boy’s 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 boy’s 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 different party. It is a must for the girl’s parent to be present for the wedding.

The wedding

the wedding begins as the girl and her friend would enter the boy’s 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 others are busy in the welcome procession, they will be an old women from this family, shouting on the rooftop 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 Khata (a white scarf). They will then sit in order. First, the boy’s parent would sit, then the new couple and then the girl’s parent would sit. after this, all the family and friends will come in line to offer a 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.

Returning Home

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.

  1. Our marriage is not only a marriage of a husband and the wife. rather is a marriage between two families.
  2. We practice arranging marriages. In some case, the bride sees her husband for the first time during the marriage.
  3. Consent of the elderly member of both parties is very important.
  4. But the 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 the bride moves to her in-law family. She becomes a common wife to all the brothers. Yet the eldest border is as her real husband and all the children will call him the father. Rest are called uncle. Even if they are fathered by younger brothers.

In urban setup, the Monogamy marriage is predominant. These marriages are mainly based on the love affair between two parties rather than two families.

Traditionally, the practice of Polygamy is practiced by the high Lama lineages 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.

When you are traveling to Tibet, you will most likely able to crash into some wedding. ask you guide and Tibet travel agency people if they knew anyone getting married while you are in Lhasa and maybe you can get an invitation.
the above post is base on my local experiences. yet there are lots of another different traditional way to marriage custom and I will be writing more about the other marriage custom and wedding ceremony in Tibet
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Winter is a low season in Tibet tourism.  We provide skill training required for the practice of Responsible and Sustainable tourism practice, first Aids and emergency first responder training. One of our managers is certified Humanity Supply Chain management by fritz institute. We work closely with individuals from institute like Tibet Eco Travel initiatives and Local Tibet Red Cross society and other NGOs.

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f) Trekking tours and environmental care in the wilderness of Tibet

During your trekking Tours, you will be walking across a very fragile ecosystem.  We do take extra care in our trekking tours preventing environmental effects. Following are how are take care of our environment our trekking tours.

1: We nothing leave mother behind.

We make sure we take all our rubbish and leave nothing behind.

2: We protect the grassland

A little destruction of Tibet’s fragile environment is irreversible. So, in the trekking tours, we will not make drainage surrounding your tent. Instead, we will provide trekkers with a better tent with bathtub style floors which prevent water from getting into the tent. We don’t put a small tent toilet. Even if we try to put the grass back, it is not the same. So when you are answering your nature called please enjoy the view.

3: Collecting the garbage along the way.

We have a saying in Tibet, “if you can’t help, don’t harm.” Here is our helping part. We always have extra yaks carrying the Garbages, our yak men will be collecting while waiting for the clients at the campsite. Yak man walks faster than all, and they have free time at the camp. While cook prepares for meals and drinks, We pay yaks men’s incentives in collecting the rubbish around the camp.

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