A traditional grooms fair took place in India: who was in the greatest demand
In the Indian state of Bihar, a grooms fair has been operating for more than seven centuries, where women and their families come in search of a worthy husband. “Saurat Mela” or “Sabhagachhi”, a nine-day grooms’ fair, was founded by Raja Hari Singh of the Karnatic dynasty, who thus decided to make it easier for women to find a husband.
Thousands of men, many from hundreds of miles away, line up under the trees at the local market in the Madhubani district as female shoppers, escorted by their relatives, walk the aisles in search of a worthy candidate, looking for a life partner.
The price of a potential spouse depends on several factors – their education, condition and marital status (the presence of children, financially dependent relatives, etc.), health problems. Having looked at a suitable candidate, women are asked to show a birth certificate, a school certificate, a diploma, they are interested in education and occupation. In the case of a positive verdict, discussion of the details of a future deal begins.
Engineers, doctors and civil servants are in the highest demand at the fair. Preference is given to those who are younger and in good health.
Despite the fact that dowry is officially forbidden in India, and that one of the main goals of the grooms’ fair was to eliminate this stage between introduction and marriage, young, eligible bachelors still often demand a significant dowry from the bride’s family.
Apparently, the brides themselves hardly have a say in the choice of the groom. The last word rests with their relatives, who ultimately choose a bachelor who strikes a good balance between affordability and an impressive resume.
While the Bihar grooms fair is no longer as popular as it was a few decades ago, mainly due to more convenient options like online dating apps, it still attracts crowds of bachelors and single women.