Magazine article UNESCO Courier

Getting Married

Magazine article UNESCO Courier

Getting Married

Article excerpt

In Tamil Nadu most marriages are stil arranged by parents and intercaste marriages, although no longer rare, are still the exception rather than the rule. Child marriage is now a thing of the past.

Economic status and caste are crucial factors in the process of selecting a marriage partner. Marriage is an expensive business and the bride's family usually has to meet all the expenses as well as providing a dowry. To parents with several daughters this financial burden is a source of constant worry.

Paradoxically, the education of women has added to the problem. In many castes an educated girl can only marry a man with an equal or better education, but the better educated the bridegroom is the higher the dowry the bride has to bring. For many middle-class families education and employment for women has meant that woman have to earn their own dowries! In earlier days the dowry consited of cash and jewellery, but today it may include such modern items as scooters, refrigerators, television sets and pressure cookers.

In the past weddings were big social events spread over five days. …

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