Bride price

From Academic Kids

Bride price or bride wealth is an amount of money or property paid to the parents of a woman for the right to marry her. (Compare dowry, which is paid to the parents of a man.)

History of the tradition

The Hebrew Bible and Talmud mention the practice of paying a bride price to the father of a minor girl.

The tradition of giving bride price is still practiced in many Asian countries although the amount changing hands is more a token amount to continue the traditional ritual then an actual price-tag attached to the bride-to-be for marriage.

In Chinese culture, an auspicious date is selected to 'Ti Qing' (literally meaning 'propose marriage'), where both families will meet to discuss the amount of the bride price demanded, among other things. A couple of weeks before the actual wedding, the ritual of 'Guo Da Li' (literally meaning 'performing the rites') takes place (on an auspicious date of course). The groom and a matchmaker will visit the bride's family bearing gifts like wedding cakes, sweetmeats and jewelry as well as the bride price. On the actual wedding day, the bride's family will return a portion of the bride price as a goodwill gesture.

The practice of bride price also existed in India, where it was considered as a social evil and the subject of a movement to eradicate it in the early 20th Century.

The tradition in art

A famous Telugu play "Kanyasulkam" (Bride Price) satirised the practice and the brahminical notions that kept it alive. Though the practice no longer exists in India, the play, and the movie based on it, are still extremely popular in Andhra Pradesh.

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