Programmes held to mark International Widows Day

Kathmandu, June 23

The seventh International Widows Day was marked with a rally and a felicitation programme here today. The theme of the day was ‘You are never alone’.

At the programme, single women were felicitated with red bangles and vermilion. When a Hindu woman’s husband dies, she has to wear a white sari. She is supposed to avoid wearing ornaments and bangles. She is allowed to wear colourful clothes only after a year of mourning.

“Widows are also forbidden from remarrying. Furthermore, there is a belief that if a widow marries another man, her deceased husband’s soul goes to hell,” said Uma Thapa, a woman rights activist as well as information officer at Women for Human Rights Group.

She further said widows had historically been saddled with additional cultural and legal practices that went a step further — life-long chastity, a vegetarian diet, and obstacles in securing inheritances and travel documents, which require male signatures.

At the programme, more than 150 single women became a part of the Red Tika Movement, which was initiated by Women for Human Rights in the year 2002 in Dhading.