To this day, the tradition is known as Boemena meaning going towards a girl. Among the urban Bhutanese, the culture is known as night hunting. Although bizarre this culture is most popular in eastern part of Bhutan.
The nightly courtship tradition was existential in rural parts of the eastern and central regions of Bhutan since eons of time. It is a rural version of romance, a date where a couple would meet at night, a boy facilitating entry into a girl’s house with or without their permission. Some boys would form a group and disperse when they approach their destinations.
If you come across from men from eastern part of Bhutan, feel free to ask them about this weird culture, they will have so many anecdotes to share.
The practice of the night courtship isn’t easy. It requires persistence, energy and sleepless nights. From travelling a long distance to experiencing twisted ankles and chins. One would not dare to be afraid of wild animals and evil spirits rather man would take it as an opportunity to find their life long partners.
Generally, night courtship was a culture that enabled unmarried men to find partners for marriage in olden times. With time, this traditional custom of night courtship is on the wane. With problems associating teenage pregnancies, vulnerability of Sexually Transmitted Disease and fathers abandoning children out of wedlocks, it has sparked controversies among the policy and lawmakers.
Today, the study suggests that the latter usually happened with urban men and rural women which is why many rural women have been the subject to experiencing sexual coercion and pregnancy. Thus the beauty of the nightly courtship culture retained then, is diminishing with rising issues as mentioned above.
Gone were the days when romance was a culture, a tradition beholding the lives of youthfulness, of travelling distances to fulfilling the urge of meeting a girl. Now, with courtship culture in its waning stage, social media has taken a step to an imaginary romance. Never like before!