YIMKHIUNGRU TRADITIONAL ENGAGEMENT AND MARRIAGE PRACTICE

YIMCHUNGRU TRADITIONAL ENGAGEMENT AND MARRIAGE PRACTICE.

( Another method  practiced by the Yimchungers)

 

        The Yimchungers has traditional engagement and marriage practice. Normally, a man would choose a prospective would – be  bride from one’s own village. However, marrying wife from other village is also widely practiced till date. However, marrying from one’s own clan, close relatives, cousins was a taboo that is considered till today and  whoever breaks such unethical practice would invite expulsion from village, clan or family. The Yimchunger customary rules are very clear and stringent on these aspects.

        There are two ways in which a man and women were made to meet and know each other intimately/closely. The first one is through chance meeting through friends, in church, meetings, social gatherings, conferences etc. That means a man and woman would come to know each other in their own way. Then, if they like and love each other the process of engagement and marriage would begin. The second one is through parents who would make arrangement for their children to get married. Both the procedure were adopted and practiced since time immemorial and still going on till today. Most of the Yimchungers would first trace the genealogy, blood line and ancestors before any talk of marriage begin. They would then learn and know if any bad blood line exist or any  unclean history exist either in the boy’s lineage or the girl’s lineage. Any knowledge or bad history that existed would automatically result in not proceeding with the marriage proposal talks. If genealogy history is clean and clear on both sides however, there are certain guidelines adopted by the man before final decision is made for engagement and then marriage. The following steps would elucidate the process of engagement and marriage practice.

          When a man likes a woman or has chosen to be his would be wife, he would secretly try to find out the character, habits etc of the particular woman. He would try to find out whether she is good in field work, knows how to weave clothes, her emotions and dealings with people etc. When he is satisfied with the qualities in the woman he would then approach her proposing for marriage. If the woman agrees, then he would inform his parents of the same for further course of action. If the parents of the man also say yes, then an emissary would be chosen to go to the parents of the girl for the marriage proposal. The emissary is a chosen confidant of the family. Normally a shrewd and clever person is chosen for the job. The emissary is send with a good quality Dao called “Limthsunok” in Yimchunger dialect. It means a dao which paves the way for the process of marriage proposals talks. The Dao is handed over to the father of the girl by the emissary when the talk starts. When the emissary brings positive news it is relayed to the man’s family members. Necessary arrangement would be made for the parents of the boy along with the boy to go to the house of the girl’s parents for familiarization between the boy and the girl. Both the family would feast prepared by the girl’s family. When the boy’s family proceeds to girl’s family for the talks, normally a pig is killed and taken as a gift from the boy’s side. As an engagement sign, a bangle or a necklace known as

“Mukdaklaak” would be put on the girl by the boy’s mother; who would mean that she is betrothed to our son.  In reciprocal, the girl’s parents also kill a pig or a cow and then a big portion is send back to the boy’s family. This is positive sign that both sides have agreed to the proposal. This first process would mean that engagement has taken place and both the boy and the girl are betrothed to each other.

        During the engagement process the dowry to be given to the girl’s parents would  be settled during this period, after some time, again an emissary would be send to the girl’s family for the dowry to be paid to the  parents of the girl. The following items consisted as dowry gift from the boy’s family.

  1. Fields

  2. Headgears

  3. Domestic animals

  4. Spears, Daos

  5. Other costly dresses or ornaments

There are three types of dowry to be settled/ given from the boy’s side according to the Yimchunger custom.

  • General dowry called “Tun Kheak”. The boy’s side normally gives whatever demands are finally settled to be given.

  • Girl’s mother share called “Beru Tun”. The mother of the girl would as her gift. This would range from ornaments, fields to animals or cash etc.

  • Maternal uncle’s share called “Ku-niru Tun”. One of the girl’s mother’s brothers would take his share. The gift is normally a shawl, dao, field or any other this settled to be given.

        The number of dowry gifts for general category would vary according to the demands from the girl’s family. Once this was settled, would be then followed by marriage party. The date and time of marriage would be finally fixed. Normally, the Yimchungers would fix marriage during the month of January to May and from October to December. Mid-summer period was not suitable due to heavy monsoon rains. All friends from both sides, relatives and dear and near ones and village folks would be invited to enjoy the marriage feast.

        Immediately after the marriage ceremony is over, the girl and the boy now man and wife begin to live in the man’s house for few days, weeks or months. However, custom lays down that the woman should return to her parent’s house for the last time and would remain for few weeks or months as per requirement and approval of her husband. During this period of her last stay, the girl would do all household works; field works and weave clothe for her parents for the last time and also make new clothes for herself and her husband. Finally when the time has come for her to finally leave her parent’s house the girl would be send off by her family and relatives with the following gift items.

  • Good amount of grains, paddy etc

  • Ornaments

  • Weaving materials

  • Various seedlings

  • Shawls

  • Mekhela

  • Animals

  • Various baskets

  • Dao, field spades

  • Steel walking stick

  • Cash

  1.     On a certain date, the girl’s relatives would drop the girl to the boy’s home. There, in the boy’s house the relatives of the girl would be fed with rice, meat and rice beer properly and send them off. From then on, the man and the woman would live in their own ways and have family of their own. They would be counted as a new member/ household in the village henceforth.

        This is the customary engagement and marriage ways practiced by the Yimchungru Tribe

     

     

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