Monday, June 16, 2008

Dowry culture was never an Indian culture.. Who brought it here..

A dowry (also known as trousseau) is the money, goods, or estate that a woman brings to her husband in marriage.

The opposite direction, property given to the bride by the groom, is called dower or mahr. Normally the bride would be entitled to her dowry in event of her widowhood, prior to the evolution of her dower rights; so common was this that the terms "dowry" and "dower" are sometimes confused.

The dowry should not be confused with a bride price, money or goods paid by the prospective groom to the bride's parents in exchange for her hand in marriage.

In Homeric times, the usual Greek practice was to give a brideprice, and dowries were also exchanged in the later classical time (5th century BC). Ancient Romans also practiced dowry, though Tacitus notes that the Germanic tribes practiced the reverse custom of the dower.

Dowry was widely practiced in Europe at all times. In Victorian England, it was seen as an early payment of her inheritance, such that only daughters who had not received their dowry were entitled to part of the estate when their parents died, and if the couple died without children, the dowry was returned to the bride's family.

Failure to provide a customary, or agreed-upon, dowry could call off a marriage. William Shakespeare made use of this in King Lear: one of Cordelia's wooers ceases to woo her on hearing that King Lear will give her no dowry. And in Measure for Measure, Claudio and Juliet's premarital sex was brought about by their families' wrangling over dowry after the betrothal, and Angelo's motive for forswearing his betrothal with Mariana is the loss of her dowry at sea. Folklorists often interpret the fairy tale Cinderella as the competition between the stepmother and the stepdaughter for resources, which may include the need to provide a dowry. Gioacchino Rossinis opera La Cenerentola makes this economic basis explicit: Don Magnifico wishes to make his own daughters' dowry larger, to attract a grander match, which is impossible if he must provide a third dowry.

One common penalty for the kidnapping and rape of unmarried women was that the abductor or rapist had to provide the woman's dowry, which was until the late 20th century the wreath money, or the breach of promise.

Providing dowries for poor women was regarded as a form of charity. The custom of Christmas stockings springs from a legend of St. Nicholas, in which he threw gold in the stockings of three poor sisters, thus providing for their dowries. St. Elizabeth of Portugal and St. Martin de Porres were particularly noted for providing such dowries, and the Archconfraternity of the Annunciation, a Roman charity dedicated to providing dowries, received the entire estate of Pope Urban VII.

In some parts of Europe, land dowries were common. In Grafschaft Bentheim, for instance, it was not uncommon for people who had no sons to give a land dowry to their new son-in-law with the condition that the groom would take the surname of his bride. The Indian city of Mumbai(Bombay), which is one of the biggest cities in the world, was given as a dowry by the Portuguese crown to the British when H.M. Charles II King of England, Scotland and Ireland married Catherine of Braganza, a princess of Portugal in 1661.

In some cases, nuns would be required to bring a dowry when joining a convent.

In Europe and Western culture in general it is still common for the bride's family to pay for the majority of the wedding costs.


posted by: Andy Says   

1 comments:

SUKHVINDER SINGH said...

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