Ladakh Marriage Ceremonies

Marriages in Ladakh are arranged. Boy's parents initiate the process by visiting the girl's parents to seek their acceptance. If agreed, lamas are consulted to suggest an auspicious date.

The Ladakh wedding celebration starts in the evening beginning with the village families’ arrival bringing food for the wedding feast. During the night-long celebration, the groom will often dance and drink chang (local liquor) while the bride remains sitting in the kitchen. The bride and groom are both presented with ceremonial khatas and money. Toward sunrise, the bride is led to the groom's family home where she meets the lamas and her new family. As a part of ceremony, the bride initially refuses food until she is led from her father to her new husband. Both share a meal. The bride is then shown the house and by sunrise. The ceremony is complete. The celebrations continue much longer with music, food and chang. The bride usually moves to her husband's family home. If the girl's family has not sons, the groom moves to girl's family home.

In case of second marriage due to death or divorce, a different form of ceremony is practiced called Skus-te-Khyong-ches meaning bringing a bride by theft. The bride is quietly brought to her new home and several days later, relatives and friends are informed by inviting them for a meal.