Zoroastrians - Kinship

Kin Groups and Descent. The relationship between kin is much stronger than other social connections. A "family" consists of parents, offspring, and near and distant relatives. Relatives are expected to be financially responsible for each other. It is through their individual acts that near and distant kin influence each other's status in society. For example, when an individual reaches a high social standing, a number of relatives will surround him and create a new sociopolitical group. Marriage is still considered to be a system uniting two families rather than two individuals. This is the reason for the high percentage of marriages within the kinship group. The kinship group is also a system of protection. In times of crisis, it is to the family that one goes for security and protection.

Kinship Terminology. The Farsi terminology used for designating various relatives is very specific. The terms used to address uncles or aunts are determined by whether they are paternal or maternal: the maternal uncle is called daye, whereas the paternal uncle is ammu; the term for maternal aunt is khala and that for paternal aunt is ama. The terminology for cousins is also influenced by male or female parentage. The words "daughter" ( dokhtar ) or "son" ( pessar ) are added to the above terms; thus the daughter of the maternal aunt is addressed as dokhtar khala , the son of the paternal uncle is known as pessar ammu, and so on. The terms for members of the immediate family are madar (mother; Avestan: matar), pidar (father; Avestan: patar), khahar (sister; Avestan: qanhar), and baradar (brother; Avestan: bratar ).

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