By Shristi Kafle
KATHMANDU, Jan. 24 (Xinhua) -- Magh, a Nepalese month as per the lunar calendar, is regarded as an auspicious time for weddings and thousands of people throughout the country, having found their perfect match, tie the knot in this winter-month.
One of the more unique of these weddings was held in the capital city recently and to the surprise of some, the occasion was not only a cross-cultural marriage between two youngsters but also a cross-country marriage.
While this was not the first time that a cross-country marriage has been conducted in the Himalayan country, for many it became even more spectacular and as it was a Nepalese lady and a Chinese man who were tying the knot together.
The marriage between 19-year-old Puja Tuladhar, an inhabitant of Bungmati in Lalitpur and 25-year-old Guyun Fei from Hebei Province in China was made possible through their relatives and other well-wishers.
Indra Tuladhar, the uncle of the bride, told Xinhua, "Puja has been raised in a middle-class family although has had to overcome a lot of struggles. Guyun Fei is a brother of my business partner. We felt that they could be a good match for each other and could have a happy life together, and so we made the decision for them to marry."
They got married as per both the ethnic Newari tradition and traditional Chinese culture amid the presence of around 50 people from both the bride and groom's sides. Representatives from the Chinese Embassy in Nepal also witnessed the marriage ceremony.
Puja lives with her father and her step-mother in Bungmati after her mother left the family a few years back. Her father drives a private vehicle for a living.
Since she failed the School Leaving Certificate (SLC) examination, she decided to take a break from education for a while and coupled with the daily burdens of dealing with the family's crisis, she decided to enjoy nuptial bliss with the Chinese gentleman after being impressed by his behavior.
Dressed in a traditional red saree, modeling jewelry fitting of such an auspicious occasion and carrying a gentle smile on her lips, Puja told Xinhua after the function, "I am so happy for this new beginning."
Both Puja and Guyun Fei have suffered through difficult phases in the past as they were both victims of the devastating earthquake of April 25, 2015.
Puja's house was destroyed in the deadly disaster while Guyun Fei, who was working as an engineer in the dry port at the Nepal-China border in Tatopani (Zhangmu Port), sustained a severe injury to his leg after being hit by a rock.
The dry port has not been in operation since then due to which Guyun Fei has been living with his brother's family in Kathmandu and assisting in their construction business.
Dressed in a smart navy blue suit, he told Xinhua, "I would like to work in Nepal for few years before moving back to homeland with my wife."
Many of the relatives who attended the marriage ceremony expressed their happiness about the cross-cultural marriage, which they said would also enhance the broader cultural bonds between the people of the two nations. However, some mentioned that the language barrier might be an obstacle.
The bride's uncle, Tuladhar, said, "The bride doesn't understand the Chinese language whereas the groom known only a few Nepalese words. They might communicate in sign language initially before getting used to each other's language."
Sharing an open border with India, cross-border marriages are common in the bordering towns in southern plains of the country. The trend is widely termed as "roti-beti relation" in both Nepal and India.
In regards to China, Nepal's northern neighbor, cross-border marriages are steadily gaining popularity.
However, recently concerns have ben raised about Nepalese women being trafficked to China and Korea through marriage bureaus and fake arrangements.
To prevent human trafficking, Nepalese authorities have set up some standard rules for such cross-country marriages, including the need of police reports and letters from the Home Ministry and Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu.
Since the number of marriages among youngsters is gradually increasing, many believe that cross-country marriages boosts bilateral social and cultural relations between the two friendly neighbors.