Social structure and family life of the peoples of Central Asia and Kazakhstan

Traditional forms of the family (Central Asia)

Social relations in the East, including family, had a greater conservatism. Among the sedentary peoples of Central Asia have traditionally been such an archaic form of the family, like a big family, when under the same roof lived three or four generations of blood relatives: his father, his brothers, married sons with children, and sometimes grandchildren. Longer just, to the beginning of XX century these families, sometimes numbering up to a hundred people, was kept in Khorezm and mountainous Tajikistan. A large family was a community with its land, a single economy, when all revenues were received in “common pot” but the intake was a joint. Big family gradually acquired a transitional form undivided family in which the father’s brothers lived separately, and then accelerated the process of separation of pairs of small families. However, ethnographers are still in the middle of the twentieth century recorded the remnants bolshezemel relationship, when the father considered it a personal affront to the care of the family’s married son.

Nomadic peoples big family was also known, its members could live in several yurts, however, stood out “big” his father’s Yurt, which had been the centre of family life. The disintegration of large families among the nomads was facilitated by the custom of allocating son after his marriage when he received inchi – share of the marital property to the acquisition of the farm. However, it is usually allocated the son continued to live with father’s family for another two or three years. The younger son had no right of apportionment, as needed to contain the parents in old age and inherit their estate. The principle of inheritance in minorate characteristic of most peoples in the region.

Model marriage

In Central Asia we have two models of marriage – long marriages, when marriages were forbidden with the relatives in the male line to the seventh degree of kinship (tribal exogamy), and cousin marriages between children of brothers sometimes within a large family (family and kinship endogamy). The first characteristic for Kazakhs, Karakalpaks and Kirgiz peoples to tribal system of social organization. Second were traditional for the Tajiks, Turkmens and Uzbeks. Distribution of cousin marriages among the Turkmens is known of the ethnographic puzzle, as the tribal structure of society in this nation one would expect the presence of ancestral exogamy. Apparently, perpetual war, resettlement, redistribution of habitat that accompanied the entire history of the Turkmen people, has led him to alter the essence of the traditional clan and tribal relations.

When various principles of choice of marriage partner is the form of marriage in the region was unified, the so – called marriage by purchase when the groom’s family had to pay the bride’s family a bride-price consisting, mainly, of a certain number of cattle. The bride’s side were preparing a dowry, which includes clothes and household goods, and usually nomads and the Yurt. Among the sedentary population of the plain areas gradually gave way to dowry the mahr is the payment that a woman received according to the Shariah in case of divorce with her husband.

Archaic forms of marriage was the so-called “marriage in the cradle” when parents agreed to marry their young children without dowry, and marriage by abduction.

The nomads played a big role in the custom of levirate, the widow when definitely stood out to marry her deceased husband’s brother. At the heart of this Institute were economic considerations – the property of a widow had to remain within the genus. As a result levirite marriage age difference between husband and wife could be very big, it would become a tragedy for women. Along with the custom of levirate existed the custom of sororate Dating – marrying a deceased wife’s sister, but he observed more rarely.

In Central Asia, as in all Islamic regions, polygamy was accepted. However, it is clear that polygamy as the marital norm was common in the pre-Islamic period.

Wedding ceremony in Central Asia

The basic structure of the wedding ceremony in Central Asia was the same and included the following stages: courtship – wedding – post-wedding ceremony. This regional feature of the mating ritual was the presence of echoes of ancient matrilocal marriage. This is manifested in the fact that the culmination of the wedding is usually had to the celebration in the bride’s house, and of a number of peoples (Kazakhs, Kyrgyzs, Karakalpaks) in the course of these celebrations consisted of two stages. The first phase included the custom of “secret” premarital Dating bride and groom, who are de jure recognized beginning of the customary law of marriage. The second stage was the wedding in the bride’s house – echoed by many ceremonial moments of the first (meeting of the bridegroom, the wedding setting of the home, the fight for the bride, etc.) and continued in the house of the groom’s father. The custom of premarital Dating bride and groom were characteristic of sedentary peoples. It is significant that the Muslim marriage carried out by the Mullah, the majority took place in the bride’s home. General distribution was the custom of the young women return home after a year of marriage. Most clearly this custom was expressed in Turkmen. Moloduha could stay with her parents for ten years until the dowry will be paid. Husband had to visit his wife secretly, and in the case of his discovery, ventured to pay with their lives.

Overall the most important moments of a wedding in the husband’s house were the following ceremonies: a three-day isolation of the bride for wedding curtain, watching the faces of the bride, special hidden by a curtain, the initiation of new foci through ritual “feeding” of fire. In the house of a young father-in-law strictly had to abide by the custom of avoidance of the male relatives of her husband, and she had to call her husband’s relatives by name.

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