Unique Marriage Practices in Bhutan

Email

Many couples are writing their own love stories but on the contrary divorce rate in Bhutan is staggeringly increasing.

In the past, marriages were arranged. However, since the 1970s the majority of marriages are love matches in Bhutan. In earlier days during our forefathers time the minimum age to marry was as early as a teen for women and early twenties for men. In some parts of the country, there was a customary practice of ‘Chhu Ngyen’ meaning child marriage in olden times.

The practice was such that the two children in the village or neighborhood would be married at a very early age by the parents and later on as the children turns into adults they would marry each other. However, these kinds of practices are gradually perishing in Bhutan.  In the eastern part of Bhutan  the popular and common courting practice is known as ‘sergemathang/khotkin’  (marriages between cousins and in-laws) marriage.

The marriage of the Serga Mathang and Serga Khotkin is known to be an honor in the olden times. Today, due to educational awareness and due to medical factors, it is no longer as common as it was some years ago.

Polyandry, the practice of courting more than one husband still exists in some parts of Bhutan and so is polygamy. Polyandry Marriages are often common among the highlanders in Bhutan even to this very day. The ‘fraternal polyandry’ in which two or more brothers are married to the same wife. To give a fine example, Late Aum Dema (Name changed), who hails from Merak under Tashigang District who was then 65 years old was married to 3 brothers and together, they had 7 children. Her first husband’s two younger brothers were mere toddlers when they were married and apparently even cared, carried, and nurtured them, and later, they became her husbands too.

Though such practices exist today, the locals and neighbors will be hesitant to share with an outsider. Many think it's a shameful act but the good news is the mentality of people is changing because these people openly live such marriages. En route to Jomolhari, you will come across one of the first households where a woman married two men. While one husband stays home to help her manage the household, the other rear yaks and cattle and move around with the animals.

Traditionally, the locals believe that the practice of Polyandry started with the intention to prevent further division of their land and other household properties in olden times.

In rural areas in the western part of Bhutan, it is very common for the husband to move into his wife’s household. Interestingly when it comes to children inheriting properties from the parents, daughters inherit more in the western part of Bhutan. On the contrary, women in the eastern part of Bhutan don’t inherit property from their parents because they marry and settle in their husbands' hometown.

However, both these traditions and culture are changing because the pattern of the family is evolving and economic dynamics changing. Nowadays couples marry the person they love and settle down on their own. Many couples are writing their own love stories but on the contrary divorce rate in Bhutan is staggeringly increasing.

 

 



Related Posts

Traditional costumes of Bhutan and the evolution of kira

The Kingdom of Bhutan is unique for many reasons, but one peculiarity that sets them apart is their dress code.

Apr 21, 2021 11:25

In the Buddhist Kingdom of Bhutan, are Bhutanese mostly...

Many foreigners perceive Bhutanese to be mostly vegetarians owing to its status as a Buddhist kingdom.

Apr 14, 2021 14:30

The popularity of hot springs and hot stone baths in Bhutan

In Bhutan, hot springs and hot stone baths play significant roles in Bhutanese lives.

Apr 05, 2021 23:58

The reason why Bhutan is a kingdom infused with deep spirituality

Most Bhutanese grow up listening and reading stories of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and Guru Rinpoche. Although hugely...

Mar 30, 2021 15:02

How does Bhutan measure Gross National Happiness (GNH)?

Gross National Happiness, or GNH, is a holistic and sustainable approach to development, which balances material and...

Mar 29, 2021 14:26

Understanding Lochoe, an annual family ritual and religious...

‘Lochoe literally means an annual religious practice meant to appease the deities.

Feb 25, 2021 14:26

Latest

News

Queen Mother Gyalyum Sangay Choden Wangchuck delivered keynote address at 54th session of the Commission on Population and Development

Queen Mother Gyalyum Sangay Choden delivered a keynote address at the 54th session of the Commission on Population and Development at the UN...

Apr 21, 2021 14:53

Bhutan Prime Minister, Dr Lotay Tshering attended Bangladesh's Golden Jubilee celebrations

Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering was in Bangladesh from 23 March to 25 March 2021 on official visit as the Special Representative of His...

Apr 14, 2021 16:30

Features

The history and evolution of money in Bhutan

The legal currency of Bhutan, Ngultrum (symbol: Nu., code: BTN) was launched in 1974.

Apr 13, 2021 11:11

9 important life lessons from Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom

Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom tells the story of the journey of an unmotivated teacher, Ugyen Dorji, hailing from the capital city of...

Apr 12, 2021 10:38

Sports

What's with the unique archery culture in Bhutan?

In Bhutan, archery is more than just a sport. It is a way of life. The dancing, the singing, the drinking—it is a manifestation of the...

Apr 19, 2021 10:40

Contributing to the country through the love for football

It's been a month since the conclusion of Bhutan Premier League 2020. Daily Bhutan interviews Paro FC to find out more about the club. Below...

Dec 21, 2020 17:05

Business

Support authentic Bhutanese handicrafts by local artisans

Whether you are interested in artisanal Bhutanese handicrafts or boutique sourced products with contemporary touch, the incredible...

Mar 25, 2021 12:09

Authentic Bhutanese Souvenirs from Eastern Bhutan

Every district and village produce distinct products in Bhutan. To encourage rural communities to produce more authentic souvenirs and...

Dec 25, 2020 22:13

Travel

Bhutan champions Waddling Tour, an activity that's completely new in tourism

Bhutan is in the midst of developing new tourism products. The country is gearing up to make the tourism industry in the Kingdom to be more...

Mar 29, 2021 10:06

One of the fun things you can do in Bhutan is whitewater rafting

Whitewater rafting is one of the most popular outdoor activities for travellers to Bhutan as it's a family-friendly activity suitable for...

Mar 24, 2021 13:20

Lifestyle

Traditional costumes of Bhutan and the evolution of kira

The Kingdom of Bhutan is unique for many reasons, but one peculiarity that sets them apart is their dress code.

Apr 21, 2021 11:25

In the Buddhist Kingdom of Bhutan, are Bhutanese mostly vegetarians?

Many foreigners perceive Bhutanese to be mostly vegetarians owing to its status as a Buddhist kingdom.

Apr 14, 2021 14:30

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!

Download Daily Bhutan Mobile App

Connecting with us just got easier!