The Hebrew Bible mentions the practice of paying a bridal price to the father of a virgin, a young single woman. Exodus 22:16-17 says CEV Exodus 22:16-17 Suppose a young woman has never had sex and is not engaged. If a man persuades her to have sex, he must pay the bride`s price and marry her. But if her father refuses to let her marry the man, the bride`s price still has to be paid. NASB Exodus 22:16–17 «If a man deceives a virgin who is not engaged and lies to her, he must pay a dowry for her to be his wife.» If his father absolutely refuses to give it to him, he pays money up to the dowry for the virgins. In Thailand, the bride price – sin sod (Thai: สินสอด, pronounced [sĭn sòt] and often mistakenly referred to as the English term «dowry») is common in Thai-Thai and Thai-foreign marriages. The price of the bride can range from nothing – if the woman is divorced, has fathered a child by another man or is commonly known to have had prenuptial relations with men – to tens of millions of Thai baht (US$300,000, or ~9,567,757 THB) for a woman of high social status, a beauty queen or a highly educated woman. The bride`s price in Thailand is paid at the engagement ceremony and consists of three elements: silver, Thai gold (96.5% pure) and the more recent Western tradition of a diamond ring. The most commonly cited justification for the bride price in Thailand is that it allows the groom to show that he has enough financial resources to support the bride (and perhaps her family) after the wedding.
In many cases, especially if the amount is large, the parents of a Thai bride return all or part of the bride`s prize to the couple in the form of a wedding gift after the engagement ceremony. The problem that the bride`s price was considered a payment for property, just as one would buy a cow and therefore have to be reimbursed in the event of divorce or the death of the woman, has been called into question in the twenty-first century. Atuki Turner, Managing Director of the MIFUMI project in Africa, said: «The custom of reimbursing the bride prize devalues the value, respect and dignity of a woman. ignores the woman`s contribution to marriage until the moment of its failure; is unfair to the woman`s parents and relatives when asked to reimburse the bride`s price after years of marriage; can keep the woman in an abusive marital relationship, lest her parents get into trouble because they are not able to repay the bride`s price; and makes marriage dependent on a third party. (MIFUMI case 2015, S. China is another example where the practice of bride pricing is widespread and the cost of such marriages has increased over time. In India, many tribes and rural communities still practice the cultivation of bridal wealth today. Dowry exists in societies where capital is more valuable than manual labor. For example, in medieval Europe, the family of a bride-to-be was forced to offer a dowry – land, cattle and money – to the family of the future husband.
Bridal wealth exists in societies where manual labor is more important than capital. In sub-Saharan Africa, where land was abundant and there were few or no domesticated animals, manual labor was more valuable than capital, and therefore bridal wealth dominated. On the issue of reimbursement, Tumwesigye J. continued: «In my view, it is contradictory to say that the bride`s price is a gift to the bride`s parents to care for them, and then to accept as a reasonable request for reimbursement of the gift upon dissolution of the marriage» (MIFUMI 2015, at p. 44). He added: Whether the bride`s price can be a positive thing, however, remains debatable. I would support Mujuzi (2010) when he says that to protect these women, it is important that Uganda «domesticates» international law. Although Uganda ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women in 1985, it had not yet established the Convention at the time of writing.
Mujuzi argues that the Ugandan Constitution, unlike the constitutions of South Africa and Malawi, which explicitly require courts to refer to international law when interpreting the respective Bill of Rights, does not contain such a requirement. The Committee recommends that Uganda amend its constitution accordingly. Such a change would ensure that one does not have to rely on the president`s discretion to decide whether or not to refer to international law. The Supreme Court`s decision to prohibit the reimbursement of brides` prices was an important step forward in promoting women`s rights. This was a landmark decision that set a precedent throughout Africa, where the bride`s price had not been challenged in court as a human rights issue. Although the decision was conservative in confirming that the bride`s price itself is constitutional and has only led to gradual progress in this regard, its ban on bride price refunds will act as a catalyst for other human rights claims implicit in issues such as polygamy, women`s inheritance and excision. However, the result gave weight to the argument that society is the first to change, and it is only later that the law catches up with it. Marriage payments are technically the exchange of money between the bride`s and groom`s families. They can be classified as dowry (given by the bride`s side to the groom`s family) and bride`s price (given by the groom`s side to the bride`s family). In many societies, the culture of dowry and bride price exists at the same time.
The value of this exchange is variable and depends on factors such as the status of the families, the ingenuity of the groom, the marital status of the bride (for example, if she has already been married and has children from this marriage, in which case the price of the bride would be lower), etc. In many cases, the price of the bride is so high that many young men and women remain single. Some communities, such as Gonds, cope with the high prices of brides by choosing the tradition of bridal service, where the groom stays in the bride`s house and offers his service to the household. It is still practiced by Muslims in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh and is called Mahr. In northeastern India, especially in Assam (the indigenous Assamese ethnic groups), an amount or token of the bride prize has been and is given in various forms. Lobola (Mahadi in Sesotho) is a similar tradition in southern Africa. Sometimes translated as a bridal price, Lobola is a traditional South African dowry custom in which the man pays his fiancée`s family for their hand in marriage. The custom aims to bring the two families closer together, promote mutual respect and emphasize that the man is able to support his wife financially and emotionally. Lobola`s negotiation process can be long and complex and involves many members of the bride and groom`s extended families. To dissipate tensions between families, a bottle of brandy is often placed on the table.
It is usually not drunk; It`s simply a gesture to welcome the host family and make everyone feel more relaxed (it`s known as mvulamlomo, which is Xhosa for «mouth opener»). This innovation was born because the bride price created a major social problem: many potential young husbands could not increase the amount at the time they normally had to pay. In fact, to allow these young men to marry, the rabbis delayed when the amount should be paid if they had the sum earlier. It can also be noted that the dowry and ketubah amounts served the same purpose: to protect the woman if her support (through death or divorce) ceased. The only difference between the two systems was the time of payment. Most importantly, MIFUMI appealed, and in 2015, the Supreme Court of Uganda ruled that the custom of reimbursing the bride`s price was unconstitutional and therefore prohibited (see (See Supreme Court of Uganda (2015) Mifumi (U) Ltd & Anor v Attorney General & Anor (Constitutional Complaint No. ).