Marriage Fair in Bihar

Bihar’s rich tradition and culture have unique legacy. Some of the customs and social practices are age old and have been practiced with great pride even today.One such unique practice is seen in Saurath village in Madhubani District in Bihar which holds a unique fair every year when marriages are arranged after holding negotiations in the midst of mango groves.

The marriage fair is called the “Saurath Sabha” and the patrons are mainly Maithili Brahmins. Hundreds of parents gather at the fair to find a suitable match for their wards. After fixing the matrimonial alliance marriages are solemnised. The practice of conducting such a fair had almost ended, as the parents of the boys started demanding dowry. The demand for dowry started picking up in the seventies.

Members of the Saurath Sabha, however, revived the old custom of conducting matrimonial fair. Youngsters have been prodding their parents that they are more interested in finding a match than getting dowry.

The social pressure has helped in the revival of the fair. The organisers of the Saurath Sabha have also been making arrangement for priests who help in matching horoscopes.

Dr. Shekhar Chandra Mishra, the secretary of Saurath Sabha, says: “After 1976, the practise of holding a marriage fair was on the verge of extinction. To bring it back to life, we have been calling upon the youth to come forward and take part in this fair. We have appealed to government many a times but in vain.”

This matrimonial fair is usually organised during Jyestha – Aasadh (June to July) as per Hindu almanac. The popular venue of the fair is generally mango groves.The boys are keen to have an accomplished bride, and do not demand dowry and accept whatever ‘gifs’ are offered voluntarily.

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