Qashqa'i - Marriage and Family



Marriage. Until the 1980s, men married in their late teens or early twenties, whereas women often married soon after puberty. In the 1980s, however, political and socioeconomic changes—particularly the impact of the Iran-Iraq War (when many Qashqa'i were killed or wounded), the expansion of formal education for both sexes, and the rise of job training and employment outside the camps and villages—have led to a rising marriage age for both sexes. The preferred form of marriage, in the past as well as in the early 1990s, has been between patrilateral relatives, especially patrilateral parallel cousins. Patrilineages are highly endogamous. When a Qashqa'i man marries, he brings his bride to live in his parents' household. After they have produced children and are prepared economically to form their own independent household, they set up a new tent or build a new house nearby and move out of the home of the husband's parents.

Domestic Unit. A son brings his bride to live in his natal household, and many domestic units consist, therefore, of three generations. The youngest son, the "son of the hearth," remains in the parental home and cares for his parents in their old age.

Inheritance. The Qashqa'i practice anticipatory inheritance, a system by which married children receive their portions of the parental wealth when—in the cases of sons—they form independent households or when—in the case of daughters—they marry and leave their natal homes. The youngest son shares with his parents the last portion of the parental wealth. The Qashqa'i do not observe Islamic inheritance rules.

Socialization. Qashqa'i boys and girls learn their roles from an early age, as they follow their elder brothers or sisters and their fathers or mothers in the many tasks that sustain the livelihood. Children perform tasks as soon as they are physically able to do so. Aunts and uncles on both the father's and the mother's side play important roles in caring for and instructing their nephews and nieces.


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