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Bangladesh: An Expensive Wedding

Categories: South Asia, Bangladesh, Arts & Culture, Economics & Business, Women & Gender

A wedding is considered the most important event of a Bangladeshi girl's life and an integral part of the local culture. Nirjona describes [1] a typical wedding:

(A) Bangladesh wedding is a huge arrangement. It is all about color, food and family gatherings. Not many years ago people used to invite the whole town to celebrate the wedding for seven days. Now-a-days it has changed. Now wedding is a four days ceremony…

A Bangladeshi bride: Photo: from flickr user www.MonjurulHoque.com [2] used under creative commons license [3].

(The) first day of the ceremony is called the bride’s Gaye Holud. In our culture we believe that turmeric paste makes the skin soft and make bride more beautiful for the wedding day. This is the main reason this day is called Gaye Holud which means “apply body turmeric paste to the skin.” This day everyone wears yellow cloths.

She continues in the next post [4]:

Day 2 – is called the Gaya Holud for the groom. This is the same thing for groom’s side.

Day 3- is the final wedding day. The wedding ceremony is arranged by the bride’s family. The bride and groom are seated separately. […]

Everyone wear very colorful clothes. Bride wear red outfit with heavy gold ornaments. Once the ceremony is completed then the groom takes the bride to his home.

Day- 4 is the last day – we calle it Bouvat. This is kind of a reception party arranged by the groom’s family.

But these celebrations cost a lot of money and usually become a burden for the family. Adhunika Blog discusses the issue [5]:

In today’s high priced market of Bangladesh a wedding is not just finding your daughter or son their life partner, it is also a contest where the two parties tries to spend more than the other trying to portray a wedding scene from one of the popular serials or a Bollywood movie.

This new practice takes its toll over the middle class people of the country who want to provide their offspring a memorable wedding yet struggle with the expenses of it.

Bride covered in gold. Image courtesy Adhunika Blog [5]

The blog provides some detailed statistics of expenses during a typical wedding and summarizes:

So all in all an average wedding today will cost a family a minimum of Tk. 5 lakh-15 lakh, (around US$ 7,150- 21,430), not counting any dowry items, well they don’t call it dowry anymore but the practice of giving the groom furniture, car, apartment or something else as gifts by the brides parents still remain a common practice in Bangladesh.

And finally, the blog reminds that a line must be drawn somewhere and how people can act for the betterment of the society:

While we are spending from US $ 150 to $700 behind things we are to wear at someone else’s wedding only $10 can provide one carton of high energy protein biscuits to support malnourished children for a month. $300 covers a years supply of antirectrovial drugs for one HIV positive child. $17 can immunize a child against the 6 major childhood diseases. Such statistics are immense, and if you are willing there are several organizations in Dhaka today who can advice you on contributing to the betterment of the underprivileged in and around the country with only part of the expenses of you lavish wedding.