Night Hunting (Bhutan)
Love can make boys do crazy stuff, like sneaking up into a girl’s room in the dead of night—all the while risking arrest or a shotgun to the face by an angry father. For the men of Bhutan, this tradition has been ingrained in their culture for the longest time—a form of courtship known as “night hunting.”
Formally known as “bomena,” night hunting started in the eastern rural areas of Bhutan, and involved a man who would sneak up into a girl’s room and spend the night there. If caught, he would have to either marry the girl or work it off on the girl’s family’s fields. In the worst-case scenario, the man would leave the girl after he impregnated her.
Night hunting continues to be observed today, especially by the eastern folks of Bhutan. To combat this, DNA testing and several laws were put into place to afford women protection. Also, families have now secured their homes with steel locks in order to prevent a hunter from entering. Debates are still ongoing as to the moral and ethical aspects of the practice. Whether night hunting will continue or dies out remains to be seen.