Wedding in the Forest

Sorry for the absence from here on my part, Johan and I have been busy working and also as you might have read from the other interns, we went to Kotagiri  for Swallows Regional meeting. It was great to meet all the partners from India and Bangladesh. But best of all was to meet the other interns, it is such a nice group of people!

On monday we went with SOPHIA staff Munesh, Nazim and Manto into the Sesshera forest to go to a Van Gujjar wedding! I was very excited beforehand as Manto told us that there would be 800 Van Gujjars gathering together in the forest. And he was right. The night before the ceremony, the family of the groom served food for 700 hungry Van Gujjars and us. It was a great opportunity to learn more about Van Gujjar’s culture and their traditional wedding. The day after we also attended the ceremony of the groom as the bride is still in the state of Himachal Pradesh. After the ceremony the groom left with his close family to Himachal Pradesh to meet his bride for the first time…


700 Van Gujjars waiting for food


The ceremony of the groom


Contrary to a traditional presentation where males are the heads of households, it is to a large extent actually the women who are active in creating marriage alliance for their children. The intentions behind a woman’s matrimonial considerations for her children are consistently to strengthen the ties to her own close kin.  The result of this is that a girl is often given through matrilineal links back to the patri-line of her mother or preferably to the very dera from which her mother stems.  Among Van Gujjars such practices of cross-cousin marriage alliances based on direct exchange, creates structural relationships by a repetitive pattern of intermarriage between paired groups.

The marriage of Van Gujjars are interesting but very complex, if you wish to learn more I suggest you read Pernille Gooch thesis ”At the Tail of the Buffalo”.


Cooking in the forest for 700 Van Gujjars


Now we only have a little bit over a month left of our internship, time flies and I have so much more to do and see. On the 24th of december I am going to Goa for a little holiday, can’t wait!