Kathmandu: A unique tradition practiced among people of Newar community in Kathmandu of Nepal is a successful way of getting rid of the social evils like child marriage and widowhood. Before tying the knot with a man, the girls of this community are married off to a special fruit (stone apple) and then to the Sun.

Under the first ritual ‘Barah’, meant for the girls while being married to the Sun God, a girl is confined to a room for twelve days to be protected from sunlight and the public eye. She is also not allowed to meet her family members. After the completion of this period, she is allowed to gaze at her would-be-husband.

Girls of the Newar community are married for the first time with a fruit before they reach the age of seven.  
Amrit Science College Professor Geeta Rajbhandari says, “Most of the girls of this community are married at a young age, first with a fruit and then the Sun, which prevents child marriage.”

However, the women of the Newar community are enjoying more freedom in comparison with others. They are never considered as widow and worship the stone apple. Their marriage with a fruit and then the Sun God protects them from the hardships of widowhood.

During the ‘Barah’ ritual, the girls are given light food for the first four days and ordinary vegetarian food thereafter. She is introduced to the art of make-up and dressing by a companion appointed for the purpose. Girls are also taught indoor games, singing and dance besides teaching them about the adult stage of life and the rules of the society.