Girls ‘wed’ Hindu god to protect from widowhood
May 1, 2016-Young children from the Newari community perform rituals while taking part in Bel Bibaha (ritual marriage) in Kathmandu.
The two-day ceremony, usually held several times a year in the Capital’s historic durbar square, sees pre-pubescent girls ‘marry’ the Hindu deity, Vishnu, symbolised by the local ‘bel’ fruit. The centuries-old custom is believed to protect girls from the stigma of widowhood by ensuring that a Newari woman’s first husband—the god—will inevitably outlive her mortal spouse.
Published: 01-05-2016 09:29