January 20, 2012

You're Invited! An Arranged Marriage Celebration: July 17, 2024

There's been lots of talk in my house these past few days about a possible arranged marriage and wedding celebration in Nepal. The chatter got me thinking about a marriage I'd like to schedule for July 17, 2024 -- when the bride reaches her 18th birthday. But first, a little background about arranged marriages in Nepal.

Weddings in Nepal
Nepali weddings are momentous occasions, often planned years in advance. Traditionally, marriages in Nepal are arranged by the families, often when the future bride and groom are still children. (So, tradition is on my side!)

Nepali parents searching for future sons- and daughters-in-law typically consider a variety of factors, including caste, religion, ethnicity, age, and connections between the families. More and more, prospective brides and grooms participate in the selection process. There is even a trend toward western-style "love" matches that cross caste lines, as more young Nepalis attend college and work in other countries. Still, respect for tradition and family runs deep for young Nepalis, whatever their experience. And if they compare the success of Nepali arranged marriages (very high) and western love matches (not so much...), they'd have to acknowledge the wisdom in the "old ways" of their parents.

Nepali Weddings -- Great Fun
Hindu weddings in Nepal are certainly colorful. They may last for days, particularly if the groom's traditional journey (with accompanying marching band) to the bride's house involves some distance. He may be on horseback (I saw a groom riding an elephant at an Indian wedding), but a decorated car is more common these days.

In the spring of 2005, I participated in the Kathmandu wedding of my good friends Puru and Sara (shortened versions of their Nepali names). What a joyous occasion! My drab Western garb certainly looks out of place here:

Here are Puru and Sara (now proud parents of two lovely daughters) on their special day:

I looked at several YouTube videos of Nepali weddings. I chose the one here -- an example of a small town wedding with the dohori singing I've grown to love:

And Now -- Drum Roll! -- The Arranged Marriage for July 17, 2024

Here's The Groom:

Rahel is the son of Ramesh and Laxmi. They're my "adopted" Nepali family. I took this photo in December, 2008, during my last of many visits to Nepal. Rahel is on the roof of the family home in Pokhara and had recently turned four. Here's an earlier photo:

And here comes the bride:

My great (really great!) granddaughter Kaylee. This photo was taken at Christmas, 2009. Here's the grown-up Kaylee dining out a few weeks ago after seeing Hairspray:

Rahel's birthday is November 2, 2004. Kaylee's is July 17, 2006. I haven't checked with an astrologer yet. But I'm sure the heavens will bless this marriage. I'm not so sure their parents will.
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