What is a Dowry?

Though less common in our modern age, the dowry has been around for centuries. In arranged marriages, a dowry is money, property, or other items of substantial value brought by the bride to the marriage. It was a symbol of her perceived worth. While the dowry became the property of the husband, if he died, it reverted to the wife. In this way, a dowry was seen as a way to guarantee her security and comfort.