Marriage and Bethrotal Ceremonies

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Marriage and Bethrotal Ceremonies,
Published in Khyber.ORG on Monday, November 11 2002 (http://www.khyber.org)


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Marriage and Bethrotal Ceremonies

Excerpts from 1998 Census of Pakistan

Publishing Date: Monday, November 11 2002

Throughout NWFP, the marriages are generally held or performed within one's own Beradari or tribe, but there are no restrictions on marriages out of the tribe or cast or Beradari. The trend to marry a girl outside tribes is increasing day by day due to increase in education in the rural areas and higher education in the urban areas. Usually the parents of the boy and girl arrange the marriages when their ages are around 20 to 25 years. There are certain tribes where the marriages are done in early ages between 15 to 20 years of ages. The engagements are held ceremoniously. Rukhsati is made after one to two years generally. However, some times the marriages are held just after engagement looking to the needs of the concerned families; however, there is no restriction or ban on early marriage after engagement. In between the period of betrothal and marriages, usually there is about one to two years of time gap. During this period, the concerned families undertake preparation for marriages and the girl is usually not allowed to appear before her fianc or his close relatives. However, these restrictions are now decreasing even in the rural society whereas in urban society such restrictions have ended.

In some areas of the province, the boy visits the girl's family along with his parents and relatives and takes precious gifts for girl and her close relatives. On return, he is also given gifts like dresses, a wristwatch, and a golden ring. In between the period of engagement and marriage on the occasions of Eid, Ramazan, Shabarat, etc. gifts are sent to the girl's house. On the departure of the bride to the groom's house, a procession called Junj carrying Doli (palanquin) visits the girl's house from boy's side on a prefixed date. The bride is seated in the Doli (palanquin) and the Junj returns to grooms house. During this, the young adult and elderly men fire in air for joy. In some parts of the province during the old days, the father of the boy used to send some necessary items of marriage like Charpai knit with animal skin that were brought back with the Junj. This tradition was called as Prikkoon. However, with due course of time this tradition has changed and proper dowry is given by the girl's family.

In some parts of NWFP especially in Batagram area, the bridegroom visits the bride's house for Salami. Fooling is done with the bridegroom in company of his friends. In addition, on the way back naughty boys throw stones at the cavalcade.

In urban areas of the province especially in Peshawar the marriage festivals are called Shadi, which consist of a wedding feast and the procession (Janj), accompanying the bridegroom visits the bride's house in the company of relatives and friends of both parties on the prefixed clay. At the house of the bride, they are welcomed by the elders of the brides' family. The bridegroom with his friends and elders of the family sit in a separate room. The bride and bridegroom arc made husband and wife by the Maulvi (priest) who in the presence of witnesses asks each party if they accept each other. This is repeated three times and affirmative replies being received from each side, the Maulvi Sahib names both parties, declares them husband and wife and offers a blessings on their union. This is called Nikah (wedlock). Then food, especially Pulao (rice) with mutton. Qorma and sweet dish are served to the accompanying guests and all members of Junj, which in the local language is called Khawncha Roti. On the same day at late night bridegroom takes his bride to his own home. The bride is brought in the Doli in a big procession and young men fire gunshots in the air for joy. Next morning bridegroom gives a feast called Walima to all guests including friends, relatives and members of the bridegroom side.

In certain areas of province, i.e. Kohistan the polygamy is rampant and betrothals are made in tender age. In this area, dowry system is not a custom.


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Marriage and Bethrotal Ceremonies,
Published in Khyber.ORG on Monday, November 11 2002 (http://www.khyber.org)