A dowry is a payment, such as property or money, paid by the bride's family to the groom or his family at the time of marriage. Dowry contrasts with the related concepts of
Bride price, bride-dowry (Mahr in Islam), bride-wealth, or bride token, is money, property, or other form of wealth paid by a groom or his family to the woman or the family of the woman he will be married to or is just about to marry. Bride dowr ...
Dower is a provision accorded traditionally by a husband or his family, to a wife for her support should she become widowed. It was settled on the bride (being gifted into trust) by agreement at the time of the wedding, or as provided by law. ...
. While bride price or bride service
is a payment by the groom
, or his family, to the bride, or her family, dowry is the wealth transferred from the bride, or her family, to the groom, or his family. Similarly,
Dower is a provision accorded traditionally by a husband or his family, to a wife for her support should she become widowed. It was settled on the bride (being gifted into trust) by agreement at the time of the wedding, or as provided by law. ...
is the property settled on the bride herself, by the groom at the time of marriage, and which remains under her ownership and control.
Dowry is an ancient custom that is already mentioned in some of the earliest writings, and its existence may well predate records of it. Dowries continue to be expected and demanded as a condition to accept a marriage
proposal in some parts of the world, mainly in parts of
Asia (, ) is one of the world's most notable geographical regions, which is either considered a continent in its own right or a subcontinent of Eurasia, which shares the continental landmass of Afro-Eurasia with Africa. Asia covers an area ...
The custom of dowry is most common in cultures that are strongly
Patrilineality, also known as the male line, the spear side or agnatic kinship, is a common kinship system in which an individual's family membership derives from and is recorded through their father's lineage. It generally involves the inheritanc ...
and that expect women to reside with or near their husband's family (
In social anthropology, patrilocal residence or patrilocality, also known as virilocal residence or virilocality, are terms referring to the social system in which a married couple resides with or near the husband's parents. The concept of loca ...
Dowries have long histories in Europe, South Asia, Africa, and other parts of the world.
A dowry is the transfer of parental property to a daughter at her marriage (i.e. 'inter vivos') rather than at the owner's death (''mortis causa'').
[ A dowry establishes a type of conjugal fund, the nature of which may vary widely. This fund may provide an element of financial security in widowhood or against a negligent husband, and may eventually go to provide for her children.] Dowries may also go toward establishing a marital household, and therefore might include furnishings such as linens and furniture.
Locally, dowry or trousseau is called in Urdu, Persian and Arabic
Arabic (, ' ; , ' or ) is a Semitic language spoken primarily across the Arab world.Semitic languages: an international handbook / edited by Stefan Weninger; in collaboration with Geoffrey Khan, Michael P. Streck, Janet C. E.Watson; Walter ...; ''dahej'' in Hindi
Hindi ( Devanāgarī: or , ), or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi (Devanagari: ), is an Indo-Aryan language spoken chiefly in the Hindi Belt region encompassing parts of northern, central, eastern, and western India. Hindi has bee ..., in Punjabi
Punjabi, or Panjabi, most often refers to:
* Something of, from, or related to Punjab, a region in India and Pakistan
* Punjabi language
* Punjabi people
* Punjabi dialects and languages
Punjabi may also refer to:
* Punjabi (horse), a British Th ..., ''daijo'' in Nepali, in Turkish, ''joutuk '' in Bengali, ''jiazhuang'' in Mandarin
Mandarin or The Mandarin may refer to:
* Mandarin Chinese, branch of Chinese originally spoken in northern parts of the country
** Standard Chinese or Modern Standard Mandarin, the official language of China
** Taiwanese Mandarin, Stan ..., ''varadhachanai'' in Tamil
Tamil may refer to:
* Tamils, an ethnic group native to India and some other parts of Asia
**Sri Lankan Tamils, Tamil people native to Sri Lanka also called ilankai tamils
** Tamil Malaysians, Tamil people native to Malaysia
* Tamil language, nat ..., ''streedhanam'' in Malayalam
Malayalam (; , ) is a Dravidian language spoken in the Indian state of Kerala and the union territories of Lakshadweep and Puducherry ( Mahé district) by the Malayali people. It is one of 22 scheduled languages of India. Malayalam was de ..., ''miraz'' in Serbo-Croatian and in various parts of Africa as ''serotwana'', ''idana'', ''saduquat'' or ''mugtaf''.
Sir John Rankine Goody (1919–2015) was an English social anthropologist. He was a prominent lecturer at Cambridge University, and was William Wyse Professor of Social Anthropology from 1973 to 1984.
Among his main publications were ''Deat ...'s comparative study of dowry systems around the world utilizing the Ethnographic Atlas
The Standard Cross-Cultural Sample (SCCS) is a sample of 186 cultures used by scholars engaged in cross-cultural studies.
Cross-cultural research entails a particular statistical problem, known as Galton's problem: tests of functional relat ... demonstrated that dowry is a form of inheritance found in the broad swath of Eurasia
Eurasia (, ) is the largest continental area on Earth, comprising all of Europe and Asia. Primarily in the Northern and Eastern Hemispheres, it spans from the British Isles and the Iberian Peninsula in the west to the Japanese archipelago ...n societies from Japan to Ireland
Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean, in north-western Europe. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel, the Irish Sea, and St George's Channel. Ireland is the seco ... that practice "diverging devolution", i.e., that transmit property to children regardless of sex. This practice differs from the majority of Sub-Saharan Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa is, geographically, the area and regions of the continent of Africa that lies south of the Sahara. These include West Africa, East Africa, Central Africa, and Southern Africa. Geopolitically, in addition to the African ...n societies that practice "homogenous inheritance" in which property is transmitted only to children of the same sex as the property holder. These latter African societies are characterized by the transmission of the " bride price
Bride price, bride-dowry (Mahr in Islam), bride-wealth, or bride token, is money, property, or other form of wealth paid by a groom or his family to the woman or the family of the woman he will be married to or is just about to marry. Bride dowr ...", the money, goods or property given by the groom or his family to the parents of the bride (not the bride herself).
Goody has demonstrated a historical correlation between the practices of "diverging devolution" (dowry) and the development of intensive plough
A plough or plow ( US; both ) is a farm tool for loosening or turning the soil before sowing seed or planting. Ploughs were traditionally drawn by oxen and horses, but in modern farms are drawn by tractors. A plough may have a wooden, iron or ... agriculture on the one hand, and homogeneous inheritance (brideprice) and extensive hoe agriculture on the other. Drawing on the work of Ester Boserup
Ester Boserup (18 May 1910 – 24 September 1999) was a Danish economist. She studied economic and agricultural development, worked at the United Nations as well as other international organizations, and wrote seminal books on agrarian change a ..., Goody notes that the sexual division of labour varies in intensive plough agriculture and extensive shifting horticulture. In sparsely populated regions where shifting cultivation takes place, most of the work is done by women. These are the societies that give brideprice. Boserup further associates shifting horticulture with the practice of polygamy
Polygamy (from Late Greek (') "state of marriage to many spouses") is the practice of marrying multiple spouses. When a man is married to more than one wife at the same time, sociologists call this polygyny. When a woman is married ..., and hence bridewealth is paid as a compensation to her family for the loss of her labour. In plough agriculture farming is largely men's work; this is where dowry is given. In contrast, plough agriculture is associated with private property and marriage tends to be monogamous, to keep the property within the nuclear family. Close family are the preferred marriage partners so as to keep property within the group.
There is a scholarly debate on Goody's theory. Sylvia Yanagisko argues, for example, that there are a number of societies including parts of Japan, Southern Italy, and China, that do not support Goody's claim that dowry is a form of female inheritance of male property. She notes that Goody's is an evolutionary model in which these historical variables may not be the decisive factors today. Susan Mann argues, in contrast, with examples where even in late Imperial China, dowry was a form of female inheritance. [Mann, S. (2008). Dowry Wealth and Wifely Virtue in Mid-Qing Gentry Households. Late Imperial China, 29(1S), 64–76.]
Stanley J. Tambiah (Goody's co-author on the earlier "Bridewealth and Dowry") later argued that Goody's overall thesis remained pertinent in North India, although it required modification to meet local circumstances. He points out that dowry in North India is only partially used as a bride's conjugal fund, and that a large part goes directly to the groom's joint family. This would initially seem to discount Goody's model, except that in North India, the joint family is composed of the groom's parents, his married brothers and unmarried sisters, and their third generation children. This joint family controlled this part of the dowry, which they used to help fund their own daughter/sister's dowries. But when the parents die, and the joint family partitions, this jointly held wealth was then divided among the married sons, such that ultimately, the bride's dowry given to the joint family returned to her and her husband as their "conjugal fund."
Schlegel and Eloul expanded on Goody's model through further statistical analysis of the Ethnographic atlas. They argue that a major factor in determining the type of marriage transaction is the type of property controlled by the household. Bridewealth circulates property and women, and is typical of societies where property is limited. Dowry concentrates property and is found in property owning classes or commercial or landed pastoral peoples. When families give dowry, they not only ensure their daughter's economic security, they also "buy" the best possible husband for her, and son-in-law for themselves.
Even in the oldest available records, such as the
Code of Hammurabi
The Code of Hammurabi is a Babylonian legal text composed 1755–1750 BC. It is the longest, best-organised, and best-preserved legal text from the ancient Near East. It is written in the Old Babylonian dialect of Akkadian, purportedly by Ham ... in ancient Babylon
* sux, 𒆍𒀭𒊏𒆠
* arc, 𐡁𐡁𐡋 ''Bāḇel''
* syc, ܒܒܠ ''Bāḇel''
* grc-gre, Βαβυλών ''Babylṓn''
* he, בָּבֶל ''Bāvel''
* peo, 𐎲𐎠𐎲𐎡𐎽𐎢 ''Bābiru''
* elx, 𒀸𒁀𒉿𒇷 ''Babi ..., the dowry is described as an already-existing custom. Daughters did not normally inherit any of her father's estate. Instead, with marriage, the bride got a dowry from her parents, which was intended to offer her as much lifetime security as her family could afford. [Thompson, James C.]
In Babylonia, both bride price and dowry
Women in Babylonia Under the Hammurabi Law Code
Women in the Ancient World (2009)
An auction is usually a process of buying and selling goods or services by offering them up for bids, taking bids, and then selling the item to the highest bidder or buying the item from the lowest bidder. Some exceptions to this definition e ...s were practiced. However, bride price almost always became part of the dowry. [ According to ] Herodotus
Herodotus ( ; grc, , }; BC) was an ancient Greek historian and geographer from the Greek city of Halicarnassus, part of the Persian Empire (now Bodrum, Turkey) and a later citizen of Thurii in modern Calabria (Italy). He is known for havin ..., auction
An auction is usually a process of buying and selling goods or services by offering them up for bids, taking bids, and then selling the item to the highest bidder or buying the item from the lowest bidder. Some exceptions to this definition e ...s of maidens were held annually. The auctions began with the woman the auctioneer considered to be the most beautiful and progressed to the least. It was considered illegal to allow a daughter to be sold outside of the auction method. [ Shubik, 2004: p214] Attractive maidens were offered in an auction to determine the bride price to be paid by a swain, while in the case of maidens lacking attractivity a reverse auction
A reverse auction (also known as buyer-determined auction or procurement auction) is a type of auction in which the traditional roles of buyer and seller are reversed. Thus, there is one buyer and many potential sellers. In an ordinary auction al ... was needed to determine the dowry to be paid to a swain. In case of divorce
Divorce (also known as dissolution of marriage) is the process of terminating a marriage or marital union. Divorce usually entails the canceling or reorganizing of the legal duties and responsibilities of marriage, thus dissolving the ... without reason, a man was required to give his wife the dowry she brought as well as the bride price the husband gave. The return of dowry could be disputed, if the divorce was for a reason allowed under Babylonian law.
A wife's dowry was administered by her husband as part of the family assets. He had no say, however, in its ultimate disposal; and legally, the dowry had to be kept separate for it was expected to support the wife and her children. The wife was entitled to her dowry at her husband's death. If she died childless, her dowry reverted to her family, that is her father if he was alive, otherwise her brothers. If she had sons, they would share it equally. Her dowry was inheritable only by her own children, not by her husband's children by other women. [
In archaic Greece, the usual practice was to give a
Bride price, bride-dowry (Mahr in Islam), bride-wealth, or bride token, is money, property, or other form of wealth paid by a groom or his family to the woman or the family of the woman he will be married to or is just about to marry. Bride dowr ... (''hédnon'' (''ἕδνον'')). Dowries (''pherné'' (''φερνή'')) were exchanged by the later classical period (5th century B.C). A husband had certain property rights in his wife's dowry. In addition, the wife might bring to the marriage property of her own, which was not included in the dowry and which was, as a result, hers alone. This property was "beyond the dowry" (Greek ''parapherna'', the root of paraphernalia
Paraphernalia most commonly refers to a group of apparatus, equipment, or furnishing used for a particular activity. For example, an avid sports fan may cover their walls with football and/or basketball paraphernalia.
Historical legal term
In l ...) and is referred to as paraphernal property or extra-dotal property.
A dowry may also have served as a form of protection for the wife against the possibility of ill treatment by her husband and his family, providing an incentive for the husband not to harm his wife. This would apply in cultures where a dowry was expected to be returned to the bride's family if she died soon after marrying.
In contemporary Greece, dowry was removed from family law
Family law (also called matrimonial law or the law of domestic relations) is an area of the law that deals with family matters and domestic relations.
Subjects that commonly fall under a nation's body of family law include:
* Marriage ... through legal reforms in 1983.
The Romans practiced dowry (''dos'').
[William Smith (1875)]
A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, John Murray, London; pp. 436–438
[ The dowry was property transferred by the bride, or on her behalf by anyone else, to the groom or groom's father, at their marriage. Dowry was a very common institution in Roman times, and it began out of a desire to get the bride's family to contribute a share of the costs involved in setting up a new household. Dos was given for the purpose of enabling the husband to sustain the charges of the marriage state (onera matrimonii). All the property of the wife which was not dowry, or was not a donatio propter nuptias, continued to be her own property, and was called ''Parapherna''.] [ The dowry could include any form of property, given or promised at the time of marriage, but only what remained after deducting the debts. Not only the bride's family, any person could donate his property as dowry for the woman.
Two types of dowry were known—''dos profectitia'' and ''dos adventitia''.] [Ferdinand Mackeldey (1883)] That dos is profectitia which was given by the father or father's father of the bride. All other dos is adventitia. Roman law also allowed for a species of dowry, called ''dos receptitia'', which was given by some other person than the father or father's father of the bride, in consideration of marriage, but on the condition that it should be restored back to the dowry giver, on the death of the wife. The bride's family were expected to give a dowry when a girl married, and in proportion to their means. It was customary for the bride's family and friends to pay promised dowries in installments over three years, and some Romans won great praise by delivering the dowry in one lump sum.
Handbook of the Roman law: Volumes 1–2
, Book III; pp. 419–430
The practice of dowry in the Indian subcontinent is a controversial subject. Some scholars believe dowry was practiced in antiquity, but some do not. The traces of the dowry system in India can be found in the
The Vedic period, or the Vedic age (), is the period in the late Bronze Age and early Iron Age of the history of India when the Vedic literature, including the Vedas (ca. 1300–900 BCE), was composed in the northern Indian subcontinent, betwe ... where it is common for upper caste Hindus.
* The Code of Manu sanctioned dowry and bridewealth in ancient India, but dowry was the more prestigious form and associated with the Brahmanic (priestly) caste.
* Dowrie s originally started as “love gifts” for the marriages of upper caste individuals, but during the medieval period, the demands for dowries became a precursor for marriage
But eyewitness reports (discussed below) suggest dowry in ancient India was insignificant(especially for lower caste). Documentary evidence suggests that at the beginning of 20th century, bridewealth, rather than dowry was the common custom, which often resulted in poor boys remaining unmarried.
Stanley J. Tambiah claims the ancient Code of Manu sanctioned dowry and bridewealth in ancient India (typically in Rohtak) and especially in Kadia families, but dowry was the more prestigious form and associated with the Brahmanic (priestly) caste. Bridewealth was restricted to the lower castes, who were not allowed to give dowry. He cites two studies from the early 20th century with data to suggest that this pattern of dowry in upper castes and bridewealth in lower castes persisted through the first half of the 20th century. However, it is more likely that marriages involved both reciprocal gifts between the two families, claims Tambiah, so that insofar as the groom's family gave the bridewealth, it tended to be given back as dowry to the bride as part of her conjugal estate.
Michael Witzel (born July 18, 1943) is a German-American philologist, comparative mythologist and Indologist. Witzel is the Wales Professor of Sanskrit at Harvard University and the editor of the Harvard Oriental Series (volumes 50–80).
W ..., in contrast, claims the ancient Indian literature suggests dowry practices were not significant during the Vedic period. Witzel also notes that women in ancient India had property inheritance rights either by appointment or when they had no brothers.
The findings of MacDonell and Keith are similar to Witzel, and differ from Tambiah; they cite ancient Indian literature suggesting bridewealth was paid even in brahma- and daiva-types of marriage associated with the Brahmanic (priestly) upper caste. Dowry was not infrequent, when the girl suffered from some bodily defect. Property rights for women increased in ancient India, suggest MacDonell and Keith, over the Epics era (200 BC – 700 AD). Kane claims ancient literature suggests bridewealth was paid only in the asura-type of marriage that was considered reprehensible and forbidden by Manu and other ancient Indian scribes. Lochtefeld suggests that religious duties listed by Manu and others, such as 'the bride be richly adorned to celebrate marriage' were ceremonial dress and jewelry along with gifts that were her property, not property demanded by or meant for the groom; Lochtefeld further notes that bridal adornment is not currently considered as dowry in most people's mind.
The above analysis by various scholars is based on interpreting verses of ancient Sanskrit scriptures from India, not eyewitness accounts. Available eyewitness observations from ancient India give a different picture. One of these are the eyewitness records from Alexander the Great's conquest (''ca''. 300 BC), as recorded by Arrian and Megasthenes. Arrian's first book mentions a lack of dowry,
Arrian's second book similarly notes,
The two sources suggest dowry was absent, or infrequent enough to be noticed by Arrian. About 1200 years after Arrian's visit, another eyewitness scholar visited India named Abū Rayḥān al-Bīrūnī
Abu Rayhan Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Biruni (973 – after 1050) commonly known as al-Biruni, was a Khwarazmian Iranian in scholar and polymath during the Islamic Golden Age. He has been called variously the "founder of Indology", "Father of C ..., also known as Al-Biruni, or Alberonius in Latin. Al-Biruni was an Islamic era Persian scholar who went and lived in India for 16 years from 1017 CE. He translated many Indian texts into Arabic, as well as wrote a memoir on Indian culture and life he observed. Al-Biruni claimed,
Al-Biruni further claims that a daughter, in 11th century India, had legal right to inherit from her father, but only a fourth part of her brother. The daughter took this inheritance amount with her when she married, claimed Al-Biruni, and she had no rights to income from her parents after her marriage or to any additional inheritance after her father's death. If her father died before her marriage, her guardian would first pay off her father's debt, then allocate a fourth of the remaining wealth to her upkeep till she is ready to marry, and then give the rest to her to take with her into her married life.
Dowry was common in different historic periods of China and continued through the modern history. Locally called " (), the dowry ranged from land, jewelry, money to a collection of clothing, sewing equipment and collection of household items. Mann
[ and others find that dowry was a form of inheritance to daughters. In traditional China, the property owned by a family, if any, was earmarked for equal division or inheritance by sons only. Dowry was the only way assets were transferred to a daughter. It included immovable property such as land, and movable property like jewelry and fine clothing. The dowry she brought with her was typically sequestered from the property of her husband and other male members in a joint family. She would often sell this property for cash to overcome hard economic times or needs of her children and husband. In a few cases, she may transfer the property she brought as dowry to her daughter or daughter-in-law. Dowry assets once transferred in turn constituted separate wealth of the woman who received it (''sifang qian'', etc.). Often a woman who brought a large dowry was considered more virtuous in Chinese culture than one who didn't.] [ In parts of China, both dowry and brideprice (''pinjin'') were practiced from ancient eras to the 20th century. Though throughout the history of China, the practice of using a brideprice has largely been used instead of dowries, but has slowly diminished in modern times.
Dowry was widely practiced in Europe until the early modern era. Folklorists often interpret the folk tale ''
"Cinderella",; french: link=no, Cendrillon; german: link=no, Aschenputtel) or "The Little Glass Slipper", is a folk tale with thousands of variants throughout the world.Dundes, Alan. Cinderella, a Casebook. Madison, Wis: University of Wisconsi ...'' as the competition between the stepmother and the stepdaughter for resources, which may include the need to provide a dowry. Gioachino Rossini
Gioachino Antonio Rossini (29 February 1792 – 13 November 1868) was an Italian composer who gained fame for his 39 operas, although he also wrote many songs, some chamber music and piano pieces, and some sacred music. He set new standards f ...'s opera '' La Cenerentola'' makes this economic basis explicit: Don Magnifico wishes to make his own daughters' dowries larger, to attract a grander match, which is impossible if he must provide a third dowry.
One common penalty for the kidnapping
In criminal law, kidnapping is the unlawful confinement of a person against their will, often including transportation/asportation. The asportation and abduction element is typically but not necessarily conducted by means of force or fear: the p ... and rape
Rape is a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse or other forms of sexual penetration carried out against a person without their consent. The act may be carried out by physical force, coercion, abuse of authority, or aga ... of an unmarried woman was that the abductor or rapist had to provide the woman's dowry. Until the late 20th century this was sometimes called wreath money, or the breach of promise
Breach of promise is a common law tort, abolished in many jurisdictions. It was also called breach of contract to marry,N.Y. Civil Rights Act article 8, §§ 80-A to 84. and the remedy awarded was known as heart balm.
From at least the Midd ....
Providing dowries for poor women was regarded as a form of charity by wealthier parishioners. The custom of Christmas stockings springs from a legend of St Nicholas
Saint Nicholas of Myra, ; la, Sanctus Nicolaus (traditionally 15 March 270 – 6 December 343), also known as Nicholas of Bari, was an early Christian bishop of Greek descent from the maritime city of Myra in Asia Minor (; modern-day Demre ..., in which he threw gold in the stockings of three poor sisters, thus providing for their dowries. St. Elizabeth of Portugal
Elizabeth of Aragon, more commonly known as Saint Elizabeth of Portugal, T.O.S.F. (1271 – 4 July 1336; ''Elisabet'' in Catalan, ''Isabel'' in Aragonese, Portuguese and Spanish), was queen consort of Portugal, a tertiary of the Francisc ... and St. Martin de Porres
Martín de Porres Velázquez (9 December 1579 – 3 November 1639) was a Peruvian lay brother of the Dominican Order who was beatified in 1837 by Pope Gregory XVI and canonized in 1962 by Pope John XXIII. He is the patron saint of mixed- ... 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
Pope Urban VII ( la, Urbanus VII; it, Urbano VII; 4 August 1521 – 27 September 1590), born Giovanni Battista Castagna, was head of the Catholic Church, and ruler of the Papal States from 15 to 27 September 1590. His thirteen-day papacy was t .... In 1425, the Republic of Florence created a public fund, called the '' Monte delle doti'', to provide dowries to Florentine brides.
Vast inheritances were standard as dowries for aristocratic and royal brides in Europe during the Middle Ages. The Portuguese crown gave two cities in India and Morocco as dowry to the British Crown in 1661 when King Charles II of England
Charles II (29 May 1630 – 6 February 1685) was King of Scotland from 1649 until 1651, and King of King of England, England, Scotland and King of Ireland, Ireland from the 1660 Restoration of the monarchy until his death in 1685.
Charles II ... married Catherine of Braganza
Catherine of Braganza ( pt, Catarina de Bragança; 25 November 1638 – 31 December 1705) was Queen of England, Scotland and Ireland during her marriage to King Charles II, which lasted from 21 May 1662 until his death on 6 February 1685. Sh ..., a princess of Portugal.
In some cases, nuns were required to bring a dowry when joining a convent
A convent is a community of monks, nuns, religious brothers or, sisters or priests. Alternatively, ''convent'' means the building used by the community. The word is particularly used in the Catholic Church, Lutheran churches, and the Anglica .... At some times, such as Ancien Régime
''Ancien'' may refer to
* the French word for "ancient
Ancient history is a time period from the beginning of writing and recorded human history to as far as late antiquity. The span of recorded history is roughly 5,000 years, beginning ... France, convents were also used by some parents to put less attractive daughters, so that the more marriageable daughters could have larger dowries. Ancien Régime families that could not provide proper dowries also used the convents as places to put their daughters.
In the County of Bentheim in Lower Saxony, for instance, parents who had no sons might give a land dowry to their new son-in-law. It was commonly given with the condition that he take the surname of his bride, in order to continue the family name.
Dowry was used in England. However, the right of daughters to inherit and of women to hold property and other rights in their own name made it a different instrument than on the Continent. The
The Salic law ( or ; la, Lex salica), also called the was the ancient Frankish civil law code compiled around AD 500 by the first Frankish King, Clovis. The written text is in Latin and contains some of the earliest known instances of Old D ..., which required females to be disinherited and disenfranchised from land ownership, did not apply in England. Single women held many rights men did. The most famous example of this English female inheritance and agency right is perhaps Elizabeth I of England
Elizabeth I (7 September 153324 March 1603) was Queen of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death in 1603. Elizabeth was the last of the five House of Tudor monarchs and is sometimes referred to as the "Virgin Queen".
Eli ..., who held all rights a male monarch did.
While single women held rights to hold property equivalent to those of men, marriage and married women were affected by the Norman Conquest
The Norman Conquest (or the Conquest) was the 11th-century invasion and occupation of England by an army made up of thousands of Norman, Breton, Flemish, and French troops, all led by the Duke of Normandy, later styled William the Conque ... changes to the law in the 12th Century. Coverture
Coverture (sometimes spelled couverture) was a legal doctrine in the English common law in which a married woman's legal existence was considered to be merged with that of her husband, so that she had no independent legal existence of her own. ... was introduced to the common law in some jurisdictions, requiring property of a wife to be held in the husband's name, custody and control. The Normans also introduced the dowry in England replacing the earlier custom of the new husband giving a morning gift to his bride. At first the husband publicly gave '' r received?' the dowry at the church door at the wedding.
If the husband died first, which was frequent, there was a Widows dowry of one third of the husband's lands at the time of his marriage; the income, and in some cases, the management, of the lands, was assigned to her for the rest of her life. This concept is included in the Great Charter, and along with the recognition of female inheritance and absence of the Salic law
The Salic law ( or ; la, Lex salica), also called the was the ancient Frankish civil law code compiled around AD 500 by the first Frankish King, Clovis. The written text is in Latin and contains some of the earliest known instances of Old D ..., and women, particularly single women, holding many rights equivalent to those men held, manifests English law differing fundamentally from the law of the Continent, especially the law of the Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a political entity in Western, Central, and Southern Europe that developed during the Early Middle Ages and continued until its dissolution in 1806 during the Napoleonic Wars.
From the accession of Otto I in 962 unt ....
Thirteenth-century court records are filled with disputes over dowries, and the law became increasingly complex.
The English dowry system permitted most noble families to marry off their daughters and thereby gain extended kin and patronage ties. Marriageable daughters were a valuable commodity to ambitious fathers, and the English aristocracy sent few of their eligible daughters to convents.
Failure to provide a customary, or agreed-upon, dowry could cause a marriage to be called off. William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare ( 26 April 1564 – 23 April 1616) was an English playwright, poet and actor. He is widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's nation ... made use of such an event in '' King Lear
''King Lear'' is a tragedy written by William Shakespeare.
It is based on the mythological Leir of Britain. King Lear, in preparation for his old age, divides his power and land between two of his daughters. He becomes destitute and insane a ...'': one of Cordelia's suitors gives up his suit upon hearing that King Lear will give her no dowry. In '' Measure for Measure
''Measure for Measure'' is a play by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written in 1603 or 1604 and first performed in 1604, according to available records. It was published in the ''First Folio'' of 1623.
The play's plot features its ...'', Claudio and Juliet's premarital sex was brought about by their families' wrangling over dowry after the betrothal. Angelo's motive for forswearing his betrothal with Mariana was the loss of her dowry at sea.
In Victorian England
In the history of the United Kingdom and the British Empire, the Victorian era was the period of Queen Victoria's reign, from 20 June 1837 until her death on 22 January 1901. The era followed the Georgian period and preceded the Edward ..., dowries were viewed by some members of the upper class as an early payment of the daughter's inheritance
Inheritance is the practice of receiving private property, titles, debts, entitlements, privileges, rights, and obligations upon the death of an individual. The rules of inheritance differ among societies and have changed over time. Officially .... In some instances, daughters who had not received their dowries were the only female heirs entitled to part of the estate when their parents died. If a couple died without children, a woman's dowry was often returned to her family.
Coverture (sometimes spelled couverture) was a legal doctrine in the English common law in which a married woman's legal existence was considered to be merged with that of her husband, so that she had no independent legal existence of her own. ... never applied universally in Britain and was repealed in the 1800s. This effectively ended the concept of dowry as the property of a single woman was either retained by her after marriage or its income became marital property under joint control with a husband (not under his sole control as in coverture).
In some parts of Europe, especially Eastern Europe, land dowries were common.
''Domostroy'' ( rus, Домострой, p=dəmɐˈstroj, ''Domestic Order'') is a 16th-century Russian set of household rules, instructions and advice pertaining to various religious, social, domestic, and family matters of the Russian society. ...'', a Russian advice book of the 16th century for upper classes, includes advice to set aside property for purposes of a dowry, and use it to accumulate linens, clothing, and other things for it, rather than have to suddenly buy it all for the wedding; if the daughter should happen to die, the dowry should be used to give alms and for prayers for her soul, although some might be set aside for other daughters. In late Tsarist Russia the dowry originally consisted of clothing for the bride, linen, and bedding. [Olga Semyonova Tian-Shanskaia, ''Village Life in Late Tsarist Russia'', pp. 3–4, 1993, Indiana University Press, Bloomington and Indianapolis.] Linen became less common, a fact blamed on poor flax harvest and girls being poor spinners, but emphasis was added to the finest of the clothing, and a money dowry was sometimes added, particularly if the bride was regarded as having some fault. Prospective in-laws, usually concerned mostly with her working ability, grew more concerned about a money dowry. [Olga Semyonova Tian-Shanskaia, ''Village Life in Late Tsarist Russia'', p. 66, 1993, Indiana University Press, Bloomington and Indianapolis]
In Romania in the late 18th and early 19th centuries (1750–1830s) the exclusion of dowered girls from the family inheritance led to increased cohesion within the nuclear family. The wife's male relatives controlled the dowry but she retained sole ownership of the dowry and wedding gifts. Her relatives could prosecute the husband for squandering a dowry; wives gained some ability to leave an abusive marriage. The long-term result was a greater legal empowerment of women, while providing economic security to divorced women, widows, and children.
According to one ethnographic study of indigenous cultures worldwide, around six percent of North American indigenous cultures practised reciprocal exchange, involving the giving of gifts between both the bride and groom's families.
Among the tribes of the American Plains, a combination of dower
Dower is a provision accorded traditionally by a husband or his family, to a wife for her support should she become widowed. It was settled on the bride (being gifted into trust) by agreement at the time of the wedding, or as provided by law. ... and dowry was used. The groom would give a gift of horses to the bride's parents, while they in turn would give a gift to the groom. The exchange was somewhat reciprocal.
Spanish colonists brought the dowry custom to Mexico. Spain's laws gave brides the right to control their dowry after marriage, contrary to the usual European practice of transferring the dowry to the control of the groom and his family. Women, in practice, often did maintain control over their dowry after marriage. The husband might be given funds from the dowry to invest for the mutual benefit of the couple and their children, but wives also often used funds from their dowries to operate their own businesses, as grocers, tavern keepers, and shop owners in urban areas. Dowries were a common custom in the early colonial years, but were passing out of use by the mid-18th century. By that time, less wealthy daughters were often marrying without any dowry.
The French government made efforts to encourage marriage for the male soldiers and traders in New France by granting dowries to women willing to travel to the colony at Quebec. As the French crown provided dowries for many of the women persuaded to travel to
New France (french: Nouvelle-France) was the area colonized by France in North America, beginning with the exploration of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence by Jacques Cartier in 1534 and ending with the cession of New France to Great Britain and S ... for marriages and settlement there, they were known as '' filles du roi'' (daughters of the king).
Convents in Quebec, as in Europe, required a dowry from the parents of girls becoming nuns, much as the dowry was expected in the marriages of upper class brides. The Catholic Church and secular authorities intended for this requirement to regulate admission into religious communities. Girls without a dowry were often supported by benefactors, however, and occasionally convents lowered the sum required to enter the convent.
The dowry was a custom brought to the United States by colonists from England and elsewhere in Europe. One legend tells how John Hull, the Master of the Mint in
Boston (), officially the City of Boston, is the state capital and most populous city of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, as well as the cultural and financial center of the New England region of the United States. It is the 24th- most p ... and a wealthy man, determined the dowry for his daughter Hannah's marriage to Samuel Sewall. Hull is said to have set his 18-year-old daughter onto one side of the large scales in his warehouse. He piled shillings into the other side of the scale until he reached her weight in silver, and that was her dowry.
The daughters of wealthy 19th-century industrialists, who were able to inherit large amounts of money and property, were given "dowries" by their fathers to marry European aristocrats who held a title but had little wealth. The mutual exchange of title and wealth raised the status of both bride and groom. A very good example is the marriage of Consuelo Vanderbilt
Consuelo Vanderbilt-Balsan (formerly Consuelo Spencer-Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough; born Consuelo Vanderbilt; March 2, 1877 – December 6, 1964) was a socialite and a member of the prominent American Vanderbilt family. Her first marriage ... to Charles Spencer-Churchill, 9th Duke of Marlborough
Charles Richard John Spencer-Churchill, 9th Duke of Marlborough, (13 November 1871 – 30 June 1934), styled Earl of Sunderland until 1883 and Marquess of Blandford between 1883 and 1892, was a British soldier and Conservative politician, and a ... in 1895.
The dowry was a custom brought to Brazil by Portuguese settlers. Colonial economics meant that families had a great stake in inheritances of land in particular. As in Europe, the eldest daughter was usually granted the largest dowry by her father. Variations were not unusual, however, as research has shown in São Paulo, 31% of fathers gave dowries of increasing size to the younger daughters, and 21% distributed dowries with no particular favour shown to birth order of the daughters. In addition to dowries, daughters could also be granted an inheritance from their father, a share of the ''legìtima''. Inheritance laws were complex in colonial Brazil. According to Portuguese law, an estate was to be divided among children who had not already received a dowry. In the early colonial period, married daughters receiving a large dowry would refuse to accept a further inheritance after the death of their father. In the 18th century, as inheritances and dowries gradually became smaller, this custom disappeared. Daughters accepted a dowry, plus a ''legìtima.'' In this way, they folded their dowry back into the estate with the ''legìtima'', called bringing the dowry ''à colação''. The remaining third of the estate, the ''terça'', was free for the father to divide as he wished among his heirs.
There were instances where a daughter was left to marry without a dowry, whereas her sisters were given dowries, an indication of paternal control over marriage choices. During the 18th century, as inheritances decreased in size, litigation among siblings became more common. Dowries could include land, a house in the city, cash, gold dust, gold bars, tools and machinery, cattle, or horses. By the 19th century, economic changes meant that men, typically merchants, brought more to the marriage materially, and the economic dynamics of marriage changed.
Dowry is a common practice in many parts of the world, especially in
South Asia is the southern subregion of Asia, which is defined in both geographical and ethno-cultural terms. The region consists of the countries of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.;;;;;;;; T ... and several Middle East and North Africa
MENA, an acronym in the English language, refers to a grouping of countries situated in and around the Middle East and North Africa. It is also known as WANA, SWANA, or NAWA, which alternatively refers to the Middle East as Western Asia (o ... countries. Dowry is most common in nations with inadequate male-biased inheritance laws and patrilineal
Patrilineality, also known as the male line, the spear side or agnatic kinship, is a common kinship system in which an individual's family membership derives from and is recorded through their father's lineage. It generally involves the inheritanc ... societies, which expect women to live with or near their husband's family. [Van Willigen, J., & Channa, V. C. (1991). Law, custom, and crimes against women: The problem of dowry death in India. Human organization, 50(4), pp. 369–377]
An unusual exception to the dowry custom in South Asia is found in Bhutan
Bhutan (; dz, འབྲུག་ཡུལ་, Druk Yul ), officially the Kingdom of Bhutan,), is a landlocked country in South Asia. It is situated in the Eastern Himalayas, between China in the north and India in the south. A mountainous .... The dowry system does not exist in Bhutan; inheritance is matrilineal
Matrilineality is the tracing of kinship through the female line. It may also correlate with a social system in which each person is identified with their matriline – their mother's lineage – and which can involve the inheritance ..., and daughters do not take their father's name at birth, nor their husband's name upon marriage. Rural land may be registered in a woman's name. Women own businesses, and both polyandry
Polyandry (; ) is a form of polygamy in which a woman takes two or more husbands at the same time. Polyandry is contrasted with polygyny, involving one male and two or more females. If a marriage involves a plural number of "husbands and wives" ... and polygyny
Polygyny (; from Neoclassical Greek πολυγυνία (); ) is the most common and accepted form of polygamy around the world, entailing the marriage of a man with several women.
Polygyny is more widespread in Africa than in any ... are socially accepted, with polygyny being more prevalent. Sometimes a prospective groom will work in the bride's family's household to earn the right to marry her.
In India, dowry is called ''Dahez'' in Hindi, and ''Jahez'' in Arabic among the Islamic Community (derived from Islamic ''jahez-e-fatimi'').
In far eastern parts of India, dowry is called ''Aaunnpot''. Dowry is a payment of cash or gifts from the bride's family to the bridegroom's family upon marriage. It may include cash, jewelry, electrical appliances, furniture, bedding, crockery, utensils, car and other household items that help the newlyweds set up their home.
Dowry has no religious sanction in Hinduism. The Bhodhayana Gruhya sutra that prescribes the wedding rituals instead requires the groom to pay what is called the "Vadhu dakshina" or the bride honorarium.
In India, the dowry puts great financial strain on the bride's family. Payment of dowry is now prohibited under the ''Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961'' in Indian civil law and subsequently by Sections 304B and 498a of the Indian Penal Code
The Indian Penal Code (IPC) is the official criminal code of India. It is a comprehensive code intended to cover all substantive aspects of criminal law. The code was drafted on the recommendations of first law commission of India established i ... (IPC). Despite anti-dowry laws in India, it is still a common illegal practice. Other laws attempting to address the problem include the ''Dowry and Bridal Gifts Restrictions Rules, 1976'' and the ''Dowry Prohibition (Maintenance of Lists of Presents to the Bride and Bridegroom) Rules, 1985'', which are intended to document gifts and provide complainants with stronger evidence in case prosecution for crimes against the bride occurs later.
Dowry in India is not limited to Hindus or any specific religion. It is widespread. For example, Indian Muslims call dowry as ''jahez'', justify the practice in terms of jahez-e-fatimi. Islamists classify jahez into two categories: The first comprises some essential articles for the outfit of the bride as well as for conjugal life. The other is made up of valuable goods, clothes, jewelry, an amount of money for the groom's family, which is settled on after bargaining. The ''jahez'' often far exceeds the cost of the barat.
Although Indian laws against dowries have been in effect for decades, they have been largely criticised as being ineffective. The practice of dowry death
Dowry deaths are deaths of married women who are murdered or driven to suicide over disputes about dowry. Dowry deaths are found predominantly in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Iran.. Around 87,000 women were killed around the world last year a ...s and murders continues to take place unchecked in many parts of India and this has further added to the concerns of enforcement. Dowry-murder persists. It is the killing of a wife for not bringing sufficient dowry to the marriage. It is the culmination of a series of prior domestic abuses by the husband's family.
Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code required the bridegroom and his family to be automatically arrested if a wife complains of dowry harassment. The law was widely abused and in 2014, the Supreme Court ruled that arrests can only be made with a magistrate's approval.
The original custom in Bangladesh was the
Bride price, bride-dowry (Mahr in Islam), bride-wealth, or bride token, is money, property, or other form of wealth paid by a groom or his family to the woman or the family of the woman he will be married to or is just about to marry. Bride dowr ..., called ''pawn'', where the groom's family makes a payment to the bride's parents. This has gradually been replaced by the dowry, called ''joutuk''. This transition in customs began in the 1960s. By the early 21st century, the bride price has been supplanted by the dowry. ''Joutuk'', sometimes spelled ''Joutukh'', like elsewhere in South Asia, is a serious and growing problem in Bangladesh. Between 0.6 and 2.8 brides per year per 100,000 women are reported to die because of dowry-related violence.
Bangladesh has seen a rise in the expected size of dowries in recent decades, as its middle class has grown. Sociologist Sarah White has argued that the dowry is not compensation for weakness in women's economic contribution. Instead, its main function is now to support family advancement by mobilizing additional resources. It also demonstrates an ongoing commitment to the norms of masculine provision and protection. Dowries make women more valuable, which pushes against the background of widespread corruption and political and gender violence.
A negative factor is a rise in the rate of "dowry deaths". In Bangladesh, dowry killings are more frequently done by stabbing or poison rather than burning. Dowry extortion is also a problem in Bangladesh. From January to October 2009, more than 3,413 complaints were made to the police in Bangladesh concerning beatings and other abuses related to dowries. One of the methods used by families who are unhappy with dowry includes acid throwing
An acid attack, also called acid throwing, vitriol attack, or vitriolage, is a form of violent assault involving the act of throwing acid or a similarly corrosive substance onto the body of another "with the intention to disfigure, maim, tortu ..., in which concentrated acid is thrown on the bride's face to cause disfiguration and social isolation. From 1995 to 1998, 15 women reported dowry disputes as the motivation behind acid attacks, though that number may be low due to underreporting. Bangladesh is combating the problem with legislation largely copied from that of India. Laws prohibiting dowry in Bangladesh include ''Dowry Prohibition Act, 1980''; ''Dowry Prohibition (Amendment) Ordinance, 1982''; and ''Dowry Prohibition (Amendment) Ordinance, 1986''.
''Dowry Prohibition Act'' Clause 4 states that anyone demanding dowry from a person has committed a crime. The law does not have any clause stating punishment to misuse it. Therefore, the law is frequently used by women to harass in-laws and husbands.
In Pakistan, dowry is called ''Jahez'' in Arabic (derived from Islamic ''jahez-e-fatimi''). At over 2000 dowry-related deaths per year, and annual rates exceeding 2.45 deaths per 100,000 women from dowry-related violence, Pakistan has the highest reported number of dowry death rates per 100,000 women in the world.
According to Ansari, Pakistan's Muslim community considers dowry as an obligatory Islamic practice. Over 95 percent of all marriages in Pakistan involves transfer of a dowry from the bride's family to groom's family. A 2014 Gallup survey in Pakistan found that 84% of Pakistanis believe that dowry plays either very important or somewhat important role in marriage, while 69% believed it is not possible for a girl to get married without a dowry.
Pakistan has seen a rise in the values of dowries in recent decades, as in other South Asian countries.
However, in Pakistan it is still expected that a bride will bring some kind of dowry with her to a marriage, whether she is Muslim, Hindu, or Christian. The Dower
Dower is a provision accorded traditionally by a husband or his family, to a wife for her support should she become widowed. It was settled on the bride (being gifted into trust) by agreement at the time of the wedding, or as provided by law. ... ( bride price
Bride price, bride-dowry (Mahr in Islam), bride-wealth, or bride token, is money, property, or other form of wealth paid by a groom or his family to the woman or the family of the woman he will be married to or is just about to marry. Bride dowr ...), called '' mahr
In Islam, a mahr (in ar, مهر; fa, مهريه; tr, mehir; sw, mahari; also transliterated ''mehr'', ''meher'', ''mehrieh'', or ''mahriyeh'') is the obligation, in the form of money or possessions paid by the groom, to the bride at the time ...'', and dowry, called ''jahaiz'', are both customs with long histories in Pakistan. Today, the dowry will often consist of jewelry, clothing, and money. Dowry is expected while the majority of marriages are consanguineous
Consanguinity ("blood relation", from Latin '' consanguinitas'') is the characteristic of having a kinship with another person (being descended from a common ancestor).
Many jurisdictions have laws prohibiting people who are related by blood fr ...ly arranged between first cousins.
Control of the dowry belongs to the bride in theory, although in practice control often transfers to the husband and in-laws, and grooms sometimes extort large dowries. In rural Pakistan, dowry values are still relatively low, around 12 percent of a household's annual (non-durable goods) expenses. Also, in rural Pakistan it is standard for the bride to maintain control over her dowry after marriage, rather than control of the dowry being given to the in-laws. A recent survey in January 2017 by Gallup Pakistan showed that 56 percent of the population expects the girl to bring dowry to marriage. The pressure among some Pakistanis to provide a large dowry results in some brides' families going into debt, including debt servitude; some brides build up their dowry with their own earnings if they work outside the home. The debt trap created by providing large dowries puts pressure on parents aspiring to arrange a marriage for their daughter(s) into a better social class. It is also cited as a reason for the current trend toward delayed marriages. Arranged marriages among first cousins are common, since they provide a way of keeping dowries within an extended family.
Pakistan has passed several laws to address the problem of excessive dowry demands: ''West Pakistan Dowry (Prohibition of Display) Act, 1967''; ''Dowry and Bridal Gifts (Restriction) Act, 1976''. Women's rights to inheritance separate from the dowry are offered some protection in the ''Muslim Personal Law of Shariat of 1948'' and the ''Muslim Family Laws Ordinance of 1961''. In October 2020, Pakistan became the first Muslim country to make it illegal to receive dowry as per the tenets of Islamic sunnah
In Islam, , also spelled ( ar, سنة), are the traditions and practices of the Islamic prophet Muhammad that constitute a model for Muslims to follow. The sunnah is what all the Muslims of Muhammad's time evidently saw and followed and pass .... According to the bill, the maximum amount to be given to the bride as her dowry may be no more than four tola gold, which may include clothes that belong to the bride, and bedsheets only. Guests arriving at the marriage ceremony will be banned from giving gifts costing more than .
The practice of dowry is common in Nepal, and dowry-related violence is increasingly becoming a problem. As a result, the dowry system has been banned in Nepal. Despite the laws, the violent incidents continue, under a general perception of impunity.
Nepalis (English: Nepalese ; ne, नेपाली) are the citizens of Nepal under the provisions of Nepali nationality law. The country is home to people of many different national origins who are the descendants of immigrants from India ... of the Madhesi society still freely welcome dowry as a right to the groom's side. Even highly educated people living in the Terai of Nepal accept dowry without any second thoughts. Parents have thus started dreading the birth of daughters in the family, going as far as determining the sex of fetuses in order to abort daughters. Many deaths have also been caused by not giving dowry to the groom's side. Dowry system, however, is not practiced by indigenous people and is less prevalent in Hill Region.
In Nepal, the practice of dowry is closely related to social prestige; and dowry violence is especially prevalent in the Terai belt. In 2009, Nepal enacted the ''Social Customs and Practices Act'' outlawing dowry; however, there have been no known cases of enforcement.
Here, the dowry is known as ''dewedda''. The payment of dowry in Sri Lanka has a strong tradition, and has been connected to
Domestic violence (also known as domestic abuse or family violence) is violence or other abuse that occurs in a domestic setting, such as in a marriage or cohabitation. ''Domestic violence'' is often used as a synonym for ''intimate partner .... However its importance is declining, and violence related to it is not as common as in other South Asian countries, though it still exists.
Dowry is called ''Jehez'' in
Afghanistan, officially the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan,; prs, امارت اسلامی افغانستان is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central Asia and South Asia. Referred to as the Heart of Asia, it is border ..., and is separate from Mahr
In Islam, a mahr (in ar, مهر; fa, مهريه; tr, mehir; sw, mahari; also transliterated ''mehr'', ''meher'', ''mehrieh'', or ''mahriyeh'') is the obligation, in the form of money or possessions paid by the groom, to the bride at the time ..., ''sherbaha'', and brideprice (locally called ''walwar'', ''toyana'', or ''qalyn''). [Gender Awareness and Development Manual](_blank)
A large dowry is sometimes expected, and given, in Afghanistan; some houses are almost emptied so that the daughter may make a grand show at the wedding. Items included in a dowry depend on the resources of the bride's family and the demands made by the groom's family. Embroidery is traditionally included in a dowry, as is land, money, jewelry such as necklaces and ''pazab'', shoes, shawls, carpets, bedding, furniture, crockery, mirrors, clocks and such items. The dowry is transferred from bride's family house to the groom's family house one day before the wedding day in a ritual ceremony with band and a procession, which typically adopts the longest route in the residential area for the Afghan community to see the dowry being given by the bride's family.
Afghanistan has both dowry and bride price, although the practice differs between different tribal and ethnic groups. In Afghanistan, a marriage typically requires two kinds of payments: a
United Nations Development Program & Government of Afghanistan, Kabul (May 2007); pp. 175–176
In Islam, a mahr (in ar, مهر; fa, مهريه; tr, mehir; sw, mahari; also transliterated ''mehr'', ''meher'', ''mehrieh'', or ''mahriyeh'') is the obligation, in the form of money or possessions paid by the groom, to the bride at the time ..., which typically consists of livestock, property and money, and in practice often takes the form of a bride price paid to the woman's family; and a dowry brought by the bride to her husband's home which may include various goods such as clothing, bedding and household utensils. [Peter Blood (2004)] The nature of dowry the bride brings often influences how she is treated when she arrives at her husband's home.
, Afghanistan A Country Study, Library of Congress,
Parents frequently arrange marriages for daughters at a young age, in order to end their economic responsibility for their daughter.
Dowry has existed in Persia for over 1000 years, and called ''jahīzīeh'' (sometimes spelled ''jahaz'' or ''jaheez'', جهیزیه). ''Jahiz'' is vestments, furniture, jewelry, cash and other paraphernalia a bride's family gives to the bride to take with her to the groom's family. Jahiz is separate from
In Islam, a mahr (in ar, مهر; fa, مهريه; tr, mehir; sw, mahari; also transliterated ''mehr'', ''meher'', ''mehrieh'', or ''mahriyeh'') is the obligation, in the form of money or possessions paid by the groom, to the bride at the time ... required by Sharia religious laws, as well as the traditional payment of ''Shir Baha'' (literally: price of milk), in rural Iran. [ Dowry-related violence and deaths in Iran are reported in Iranian newspapers, some of which appear in English media.] [Isfahan man kills daughter over inability to pay dowry]
Public Broadcasting Service, Washington DC (August 16, 2010)
Dowry is known as ''çeyiz'' in Turkey. ''Çeyiz'' is the property and/or money the bride's family gives the couple at marriage. Çeyiz is different and separate from the ''
In Islam, a mahr (in ar, مهر; fa, مهريه; tr, mehir; sw, mahari; also transliterated ''mehr'', ''meher'', ''mehrieh'', or ''mahriyeh'') is the obligation, in the form of money or possessions paid by the groom, to the bride at the time ...'', which is paid by the groom to the bride, or traditional ''baslik'' in some parts of Turkey. The giving of dowry has been replaced with the exchanging of gifts at the marriage ceremony by family members in modern times.
Çeyiz often includes furnishings, appliances, clothing, gold jewelry, cash and other items depending on the resources of the Turkish family. Some of the Turkish dowry remains with the couple after marriage, other is specifically meant for the groom's family and relatives. The ''çeyiz'' is typically agreed upon between the groom's and bride's families before the wedding date is finalized. According to tradition, even in current times, the dowry is displayed for showing-off, before the marriage in rural Turkey, at the bride's family, or groom's family—the display is typically attended and examined by women, particularly from the groom's family. In some cases, if the groom's family is not satisfied with the displayed dowry, the wedding is cancelled. The dowry is transferred, from the bride's family to the groom's family just before the wedding in a ceremonial ritual. Thereafter, the wedding is completed. [Sandikci and Ilhan (2011), in Cele Otnes, Tina M. Lowre (Editors), Contemporary Consumption Rituals: A Research Anthology, , Taylor & Francis; pp. 149–175]
Scholars and government agencies claim significant domestic violence in Turkish population due to dowry disputes. Violence and property claims related disputes are more frequent if there is a divorce.
Dowry is known as ''cehiz'' in
Azerbaijan (, ; az, Azərbaycan ), officially the Republic of Azerbaijan, , also sometimes officially called the Azerbaijan Republic is a transcontinental country, transcontinental country located at the boundary of Eastern Europe and Wester .... ''Cehiz'' is the property and money the bride's family must give to the groom's family prior to marriage. ''Cehiz'' is separate from the money under '' Mahr
In Islam, a mahr (in ar, مهر; fa, مهريه; tr, mehir; sw, mahari; also transliterated ''mehr'', ''meher'', ''mehrieh'', or ''mahriyeh'') is the obligation, in the form of money or possessions paid by the groom, to the bride at the time ...'' required under Sharia religious requirements in Islamic Azerbaijan. ''Cehiz'' often includes furnishings, appliances, crystal, mirrors, bed, jewelry and cash depending on the negotiations between the groom's and bride's families before the wedding day. While the groom's family receives ''Cehiz'', the bride receives ''Mahr''. Relatives of the bride often contribute to the ''Cehiz'' demands, through the ritual of ''koncas''. Dowry is transferred a few days before the wedding, and examined by groom's family, and a ''Sihaye'' (receipt) for the dowry is issued by the groom's family; this helps avoid disputes. If some items of the dowry are not satisfactory, the wedding may be delayed or cancelled. Similar traditions continue in many regions of Caucasus, including non-Muslim ethnic groups.
Dowries are sometimes expected in Tajikistan, and they often consist of a collection of traditional dresses which are on display on the wedding day. However, the practice is much less common than in other parts of the Persophone world, as Tajikistan has a strong history of secularism due to it being a former Soviet republic.
Egypt ( ar, مصر , ), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country spanning the northeast corner of Africa and southwest corner of Asia via a land bridge formed by the Sinai Peninsula. It is bordered by the Mediter ..., dowry is known as ''Gehaz''. This is the property a bride is expected to bring with her at marriage, and it is different from the dower (Mahr) paid by the groom to the bride per requirements of Sharia. ''Gehaz'' is observed in rural and urban Egypt, and is typically negotiated between the groom's family and bride's. ''Gehaz'' includes furniture, appliances, jewelry, china, bedding and various household items. Families begin collecting dowry years before a girl is betrothed. Many Egyptian girls take up jobs so as to save money necessary to meet the expected dowry demands.
While the dowry is given during the marriage, in rural Egypt, it is ritually displayed to the village prior to the marriage. Every piece of the ''gehaz'' is placed on open cars that go around the village several times, with music, in order to show off the dowry being given by the bride's family to the groom. [ The ''gehaz'' show off ritual is also a means to enhance the bride's status within her new marital family.
Dowry is a traditional and current practice in
Morocco (),, ) officially the Kingdom of Morocco, is the westernmost country in the Maghreb region of North Africa. It overlooks the Mediterranean Sea to the north and the Atlantic Ocean to the west, and has land borders with Algeria to ..., and is called ''shura'', ''shawar'', ''ssdaq'' or ''amerwas'' depending on the speaker's region and ethnicity (e.g. Arabic, Berber, etc.). Dowry in Morocco is separate from the ''Mahr'' or ''Sadaq'' that is religiously required by Sharia. [
Centuries ago, ''Mahr'' and ''Sadaq'' meant something different in Morocco. ''Mahr'' was the purchase price paid for the bride by the groom's family to the bride's father or guardian, while ''Sadaq'' was the betrothal gift offered by groom to the bride. Over time, the difference vanished and they are now one and the same, but different from the practice of dowry.
In modern times, the Moroccan practice is to split the so-called ''Sadaq'', which meets the Islamic requirement of ''Mahr'', into two parts: ''naqd'' (cash) and ''kali'' (remainder Mahr). The ''Naqd Sadaq'' is paid by the groom's family to bride's family before the wedding. The bride's family supplements the ''Naqd'' amount with an equal or greater amount of cash, and gives dowry (called ''shura'', ''shawar'' or ''amerwas''). This dowry typically includes furniture, clothing, appliances, beds, household items, divans, jewelry, and other property. The dowry amounts are negotiated before the wedding. Higher dowry and lower ] Mahr
In Islam, a mahr (in ar, مهر; fa, مهريه; tr, mehir; sw, mahari; also transliterated ''mehr'', ''meher'', ''mehrieh'', or ''mahriyeh'') is the obligation, in the form of money or possessions paid by the groom, to the bride at the time ... are expected for widows and divorcées than for virgins. If elders of the two families do not agree on the dowry amount, the marriage is typically delayed or cancelled. The value and composition of the dowry varies according to social class, family wealth and regional customs. The ''kali al-sadaq'' (sometimes called ''mwahhar'' in Northern Morocco) is paid later, to technically meet the requirements of ''Mahr'' under Islamic Sharia. The ''shura'' (dowry) far exceeds the ''kali al-sadaq'', and there is a large transfer of wealth from bride's family to the couple and the groom's family. [Ziba Mir-Hosseini (2000), Marriage on Trial: A Study of Islamic Family Law, Tauris (London), , pp. 97–102, 70–75]
Dowry is known as ''oprema'' in
Bosnia and Herzegovina ( sh, / , ), abbreviated BiH () or B&H, sometimes called Bosnia–Herzegovina and Pars pro toto#Geography, often known informally as Bosnia, is a country at the crossroads of Southern Europe, south and southeast Euro .... [Tone Bringa (1995), ''Being Muslim the Bosnian Way'', , Princeton University Press; pp. 137–143] In neighboring regions, it is sometimes called ''prikija'' or ''ženinstvo''. Another term ''miraz'' is used sometimes, but ''miraz'' is also used to mean inheritance, something different from dowry.
''Oprema'' refers to the property the bride's parents give her as part of the marriage. It often includes furniture, kitchenware, decorative items, gold jewelry and other items. Oprema is also different from ''pohod'' (gift giving, ''dar'') ritual of Bosnia, as well as the ''ruho'' (embroidered clothing) ritual. Oprema is discussed between the groom's and bride's family before the marriage; the groom's family sets the quality and quantity expectations. The ''oprema'' is typically not displayed to those who attend the wedding. Oprema and ''dar'' are a major economic burden to bride's family in Bosnia. Poorer families spend years saving money and buying ''oprema'' in order to get their daughter(s) married. [
Dowry is not a Slavic custom; medieval Serbia was first exposed to it by the Byzantines. During the Ottoman era, dowry was non existent. Although the custom might have had limited adoption in the 19th century, the communist regime outlawed dowry. It's possible that the custom may have survived in some rural areas to this day among the gypsy population.
Violence against women and international perspectives
Disputes related to dowry sometimes result in violence against women, including killings and acid attacks.
Amnesty International (also referred to as Amnesty or AI) is an international non-governmental organization focused on human rights, with its headquarters in the United Kingdom. The organization says it has more than ten million members and sup ... has stated:
The Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women classifies violence against women into three categories: that occurring in the family (DV), that occurring within the general community, and that perpetrated or condoned by the State. Family violence is defined as follows:
Kirti Singh states, "Dowry is widely considered to be both a cause and a consequence of son preference. The practice of dowry inevitably leads to discrimination in different areas against daughters and makes them vulnerable to various forms of violence." Singh suggests this may lead to girls being unwanted, sex selective abortion, or her parents may abandon or mistreat her after she is born. UNICEF notes dowry helps perpetuate child marriage
Child marriage is a marriage or similar union, formal or informal, between a child under a certain age – typically 18 years – and an adult or another child.
* The vast majority of child marriages are between a female child and a mal .... The World Health Organization (WHO) has expressed concern for dowry-related femicide, citing the study by Virendra Kumar which argued that dowry deaths occur primarily in areas of the Indian subcontinent. They note the estimates for actual number of dowry deaths per year vary widely ranging from 600 to 750 homicides a year to 25,000 homicides a year, with official government records suggesting 7,618 deaths in 2006. Rakhshinda Perveen states thousands of dowry-related bride burning
Bride burning is a form of domestic violence practiced in countries located on or around the Indian subcontinent. A category of dowry death, bride-burning occurs when a young woman is murdered by her husband or his family for her family's refus ... cases in Pakistan, yet few prosecutions and rare convictions for dowry-related violence against women.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC; French: ''Office des Nations unies contre la drogue et le crime'') is a United Nations office that was established in 1997 as the Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention by combining the ... includes dowry deaths as a form of gender-based violence. About 4.6% of total crimes against women in India were dowry death-related, and another 1.9% were related to violation of ''Dowry Prohibition Act''. The dowry death rate in India has been about 0.7 women per 100,000 every year from 1998 to 2009. [ p. 61]
Bride price, bride-dowry (Mahr in Islam), bride-wealth, or bride token, is money, property, or other form of wealth paid by a groom or his family to the woman or the family of the woman he will be married to or is just about to marry. Bride dowr ..., the payment made by a groom to the bride or her family
In the old Spanish law of Aragon
Aragon ( , ; Spanish and an, Aragón ; ca, Aragó ) is an autonomous community in Spain, coextensive with the medieval Kingdom of Aragon. In northeastern Spain, the Aragonese autonomous community comprises ..., old Spanish
Spanish might refer to:
* Items from or related to Spain:
**Spaniards are a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain
**Spanish language, spoken in Spain and many Latin American countries
* Spanish, Ontario, Cana ... law of Aragon
Aragon ( , ; Spanish and an, Aragón ; ca, Aragó ) is an autonomous community in Spain, coextensive with the medieval Kingdom of Aragon. In northeastern Spain, the Aragonese autonomous community comprises three provinces (from north to sou ...
* Hirsch, Jennifer S., Wardlow, Holly
''Modern loves: the Anthropology of Romantic Courtship & Companionate Marriage''
Macmillan, 2006. . Cf. Chapter 1 "Love and Jewelry", on contrasting a dowry and a bride price.
* Kaplan, Marion, ed. ''The Marriage Bargain. Women and Dowries in European History'' (1985).
* Kirshner, Julius. ''Marriage, dowry, and citizenship in late medieval and renaissance Italy'' (U of Toronto Press, 2015).
*"Dowry & Inheritance" edited by Smt. Basu, Women Unlimited & Kali for Women, New Delhi 2005.
Women in society
Human commodity auctions