Chukchee - Marriage and Family

In the past the Chukchee lived in large, extended families. The head of the family was the one who ensured its subsistence. Many social problems arose for the reindeer-herding Chukchee in connection with the gender-age structure. (There were fewer girls than boys.) Although it has entirely vanished today, polygamy was practiced for a long time. The traditional Chukchee wedding ceremony was rather simple. The bride, accompanied by her close relatives, traveled by reindeer to the bridegroom. At the yaranga they slaughtered a sacrificial reindeer. With the blood of this reindeer they made the family mark of the bridegroom on the bride, the bridegroom, and the relatives present. Interethnic marriages among the Chukchee, in the past as today, have not been a rarity. Those between Russian men and Chukchee women predominate. Ethnic affiliation ("nationality") is defined matrilineally by the majority of Chukchee.

A child is usually named two to three weeks after birth. According to Chukchee genealogies, Chukchee first names are extremely old. In each Chukchee settlement or nomadic camp there were a certain number of the most prevalent names. Today the Chukchee system of names follows the norms generally accepted in the Russian Federation (i.e., the family name is taken from the father, the parents give the child a first name, and the patronymic is formed from the father's first name).


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