Limbu - Kinship, Marriage, and Family



Marriage is defined as a legitimate union between a man and a woman so that they may produce legitimate children. In the past, marriages were arranged by families with neither the bride nor the groom having much comment on the marriage payments or ceremonies. After the wedding the girl would give up her last name for her husband's, in return for a Brideprice. Modern times have changed this and now both parties have a chance to choose and decide on the matter. The gift giving continues after the wedding and marriage payments extend over many years. Women play a great and very active part in the marriage, in part because in many households the man serves in the army for many years and the woman is the decision maker concerning the house, children, marriage, and business. Women also influence the stability of a marriage. The mother-in-law phobia is strongly felt, and in most cases the mother-in-law is the prime reason for a bride's departure. Language is also a barrier if the bride is from a different Region. The Limbus, like many Nepalese, are hesitant to address one another directly. Calling out a name in public is taboo and creates embarrassment; therefore the new bride is called "you" or "the wife of so-and-so" (teknonymy) and she does not have full status as a woman until she bears a child. Until full acceptance by the mother-in-law, the marriage is uncertain, as the wife can return to her natal home if she is made to feel uncomfortable. Polygamy is not widely practiced; it is practiced only if the wife is barren or has failed to produce sons. Kinship is very important in a marriage. A union with kin is considered successful and ideal. For the Limbus there are three types of marriages: adultery, arrangement, and "theft." All three are legal. In case of adulterous marriage a bride-price is not required. Some compensation is paid to the former husband by the new husband. Also, if the woman is single, the new husband visits the woman's natal home with offerings to form a closer bond with her family. "Theft" marriages are common. The term "theft" means that she has agreed to be taken without negotiations. Such elopement is one way to avoid the high cost of a bride-price. The women in these marriages are considered as weak subjects, labor resources, and child bearers. For the Limbus these undesirable marriages, especially theft of married women, are usually initiated at dances.

Families related "by the bone" make up patrilineal lineages and clans. Death of a member brings pollution on the local agnatic descent group. During this time adults refrain from eating meals cooked with salt and oil. Wives who have taken their husband's family name also take their impurities by eating leftovers from their meals. Lineage and clan groups are exogamous, so men and women with the same clan name are forbidden to marry or have sexual relations. Today, lineages do not have a great influence on marriage, though payments are made to the chief of the clan. In general Limbu families are economically and ritualiy independent of each other.


Also read article about Limbu from Wikipedia

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Rupali thapa
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Mar 20, 2018 @ 10:10 am
Do Thapa Magars and limbu can get married to eachother?

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