Changing Patterns of Marriage Ceremonies (Part-1)
The research was conducted in Tehsil Taunsa Sharif in the South Punjab Pakistan. The topic was studied with anthropological research techniques to find out the factors causing change in the patterns of marriage ceremonies. The sampling procedures for the selection of sample were used to save the economies of time and expenditures with least chances of errors and inaccurate data. The focus was given to ethnographic study of the cultural variables with due care and objective approach.
Marriage in South Punjab is the most prestigious ceremony as compared to other cultures around the world. It is considered as an indication of status of families and groups as well as groups involved in the exchange of women. Marriage and status are closely linked, therefore marital choices, ceremonial activities linked to marriage become very significant to Southern Punjabi culture. In contrast with various other cultures Southern Punjabi cultures marriage is important in terms of marriage as a public statement of change of individual status. It’s a public announcement for social acceptance of the bond.
The concepts of wife giver and wife taker are compulsory to explain in the context of marriage in the specific area of study. Wife giver is considered as in weaker position as compared to the wife taker. The wife giver makes consent to give a women for entering into the life time contract of marriage as mutual interest of the families. The position for wife taker is highly ranked as compared to the wife giver in the society of this area.
The role of some kinship relatives is also important in the marriage. For instance Father, Brother and Uncle of the bride and groom play their role in the ceremony of the marriage. Both bride and groom must require consent of these kinship ties to enjoy the outcomes of the marriage. The consent of the above individuals of the family is compulsory and reliable for both families. It is honored due to the values and norms of the society of Southern Punjab.
No doubt marriage is a source of change in status of the individuals; it also ultimately leads to continuation of the family by the process of procreation. Fertility and virginity are the most important indicators in the marriage. Fertile women are considered as a source of prosperity and progress as compared to infertile women. The practice of early marriage is common to ensure the concept of virginity of women.
Social and cultural meanings are attached with the fertility and virginity in this area. It is a factor of strengthening the relation of marriage. If there is any doubtfulness, it will end the marriage and destroy families. Sensitivity is dedicated with the concept of marriage and its maintenances to a longer time period. It is the completeness of family of the couple and socially appreciated and acknowledged with the evidence of fertility. Offspring bring harmony and strength to the bond of marriage. It is the success of the marriage linked with the relations of the both families and groups into the contract.
Statement of problems
Marriage is a depiction of ritual prevailing in the culture of the society. It is performed in systematic and organized ways which are guided by rules and regulations. These must be emphasized and practiced for the successful completion of the marriage ceremony. Variations and changes continue with time and place. The study is focused to look into these variations and changes that are emphasized on the causes of these variations and changes by using the anthropological research tools.
- To scrutinize the traditional ceremonies of marriages in Taunsa.
- To file the factors influencing the ceremonies of the marriage.
- To manuscript the variations in the ceremonies of the marriage.
Significance of the study
The research opens the new horizons of views and knowledge for the future to understand the specific phenomena. The study for the topic will explore the new horizons of anthropological work to highlight the variations and expectations of the change with time and space. Marriage is an indication of human activities to perform a ritual according to the valid and socially approved sets of the values linked to a society. This is a change in status as well as the enhancement of the kinship ties.
The change of status leads to various new openings of the ideas and practices for the continuity of the custom of marriage. Change brings validation and presence of conscious and unconscious instincts of the human beings. This study is significant because of the foundations of cultural continuity and availability of the chances of improvement. Traditional and modern complexities are needed to highlight in such kind of rituals in the society.
Marriage ceremonies are accompanied by the series of other social ceremonies, which tend to understand its social significance. These patterns are different from each other depending upon area to area of the world. The conditions for developing countries are inclined to change. So due to development the patterns and ceremonies of marriage are changing due to various factors and losing their originality.
Marriage is the first step towards the formation of a family, which is a basic unit of the society. Marriage is a social arrangement by which a child is given a legitimate position in the society, determined by parenthood in the social sense. So marriage is a social union of men and women or males and females and the most important children that are born to the women are recognized as legitimate offspring of the both parents.
Functions of the marriage
The institution of marriage is dependent on the family of bride and groom in our society. There are many functions of the marriage but the most important are given below:
- It is source of making alliance between the families.
- It is a source of new name and its announcement in the social system.
- It is the source of regulation to control the sexual relations of the two opposite sexes.
- It is a source of legalizing the sexual relations of the husband and wife.
- It is a source of legalizing the offspring of the couple in the society.
- It maintains the social order in equilibrium in a society.
- It also reduces the sexual harassment attempts in the society.
- It reduces the social pressure on the individuals of the society.
- It is a source of improving the health of the male and female.
- It reduces the level of frustration as compared to the bachelors.
- It reduces the criminal activities in the society.
- It helps in the development of the good relationships of the families and groups of the married couples.
Marriage ceremonies in Taunsa Sharif
The researcher participated in a marriage ceremony to collect data and it was quite a difficult task for him. He got access to participate in the marriage as a special guest. Everyone cooperated with the researcher because the head of the family allowed the researcher to conduct the research. During participant observation following was the findings.
Before starting the operation of marriage the custom of “Dhouk” was practiced in the region of Taunsa. This was the practice which was carried out by the aged women of the Groom family or his relative or neighbour. She was representative for both families and helped in the advancement of the further activity of proposal. It was considered that she was the messenger and communicated the family of female and male at the same time. She also informed about the terms and conditions from both sides before moving to the next step of entering into the institution of marriage. When both families agreed upon the terms and conditions then there came a state of union.
After the completion of phase one there came a next phase of “Dua-e-Khair” in which the parents of the bride and groom sat together in the bride’s house. Then there was an exchange of good words and dialogues between the families. After that they started pray for the initiation of the marriage and communicated with one another about the important things in which dos and don’ts were discussed.
After “Dua-e-Khair” the phase of engagement came in the family. Parents of bride and groom invited their relatives and close friends to get together in the bride’s home to celebrate the function of “Mangrrain”.
It was a traditional custom in which the parents of the bride and groom invited their relatives for public announcement of the marriage ceremony. The event started with the oral invitation to the relatives and friends of both families in the day time. This invitation is specially practiced by the visiting of parents and their elder uncle and aunty to their relatives to ensure the respect giving activity. This invitation was also given by the telephone calls and sending messenger to the relatives of other cities and villages. This was happening in the day time. After informing the relatives, the guests started coming in the house of the groom before Namaz-e-Maghrib where they were served with tea and biscuits.
Similarly the relatives of the bride started to come in her house to welcome the guests of the groom’s family. They all were getting together and the parents and some senior old aged persons started conversation to please each other in good manner. After sometime, the oldest persons of the both parties fixed the date of Nikah and other ceremonies. At that time the other guests kept quiet to pay attention the respectable and senior persons of the both families. Then the time for announcement came and one of the persons of bride family spoke loudly and informed the date and times of the all ceremonies of marriage according to the dates of Moon. After that both the guest and host give congratulations to each other and prayed for the success of the couple.