Night Hunting In Bhutan

I was cleaning up in my blog drafts and found this one from my trip to Bhutan. Before I went, another traveler told me to ask about “night hunting.” So I did. This is what I was told.

In the past, if a man was interested in a woman, he would climb into her bedroom window. Out in the countryside, and most of Bhutan is countryside, there were no lights so it was pitch dark. (I wondered how they found their way in the dark, but then again, I’m a city person.) If the woman got pregnant… the couple’s families would negotiate a marriage.

My guide’s opinion was that “night hunting was more because of lazy business men who wanted to take advantage of innocent country girls and not bother with sweet talk at a bar.”

Fancy windows in Bhutan.
Fancy windows in Bhutan.

According to my guide, night hunting is now illegal and considered rape. In modern Bhutan, premarital sex is not frowned on, unwed mothers are cared for by the government, and there are campaigns for safe sex. He told me, “people are more educated so they want fewer children and they want them when they are older.” The previous age for marriage was 16-18 and now many women wait until they are 25.

I can’t remember all the other stuff that he told me but I wish that I had recorded him. Next time, perhaps.

What Makes A Woman Attractive in Bhutan – Matriarchy in Bhutan

What makes a woman attractive in Bhutan? Apparently, it depends on the region. In the western regions of Bhutan, an attractive woman is one who can care for her farm. In the western part of Bhutan, the daughter inherits the farm (as they say, “because her parents love her so much” that they give the farm to her knowing that she will care for it). In some areas of Bhutan, the families are matrilineal, or as I was told “the woman is the boss” in the relationship. But, often, the inheritance depends on which child is not doing as well for him or herself.

An attractive woman is one who can care for her farm.
Two ladies making fresh butter, an attractive skill.

In the eastern regions, red cheeks and a tall and slim figure are considered attractive. Many young people move to the big city of Thimphu, get a better education, a non-agrarian job, and live together before getting married. Once they have tried it, if they think it will work, then he proposes. Around Thimphu there are many nightclubs where young people like to go to meet, to dance, with singing karaoke being a favorite pastime. The large festivals are also prime seasons for meeting potential mates. The average age of marriage is rising in the city to 25 but until recently, it was much lower.

Young people meeting at a festival in Thimphu.
Young people hanging out on a wall at a festival in Thimphu.

In Bhutan, there are no outward signs of marriage such as wedding rings or bracelets (Hindu women can wear white Shakha bracelets as an indication of their married status). When I asked, I was told, “you must trust.”

Dancing at the Bangladeshi Wedding Holud

The groom is carried in on friend's shoulders.
The groom is carried in on friends’ shoulders.

At a Bangladeshi wedding holud, or bride or groom’s party, there will be entertainment. Both skits, video skits, and dancing. If you get invited to get dressed up and dance in a wedding holud, say yes! It was great fun. The groom’s holud includes the groom’s party welcoming the bride’s party with flower petals and party favors and appetizers. Next time, I’ll talk about typical food at holuds.

Purple and orange are popular colors and match the petals to be strewn on arriving guests.
Purple and orange are popular colors and match the petals to be strewn on arriving guests.

Wedding Season Again in Dhaka – The Bride’s Holud

Flowers decorate the entrance to the holud venue.
Flowers decorate the entrance to the holud venue.

It’s that time of year again when the Bangladeshis get married. I am lucky to have been invited again. A year ago, I went to a combined holud which I described in an earlier blog. At the bride’s holud this year, the bride was carried in on a palanquin. While the groom was absent, his family and guests attended, carrying gifts. I will blog more about the next part of the wedding later… right now, I need to go to dance practice!

The "mishti" or sweet pots.
The “mishti” or sweet pots.