Serbs - Marriage and Family

Marriage. In rural Serbia where marriage and childbearing have remained important symbols of adult status, the age at marriage has remained low. Both men and women typically marry in their early twenties and immediately start a family. Postmarital residence is almost exclusively patrilocal. Matrilocal residence is a possibility only in cases where no sons are present. Such in-marrying males are commonly referred to as a domazet. Traditionally, marriages were often arranged. In urban areas, where living space is less available, marriage may be delayed until later. Legal abortion is a principal means of birth control. Divorce has become increasingly common in the postwar era.

Domestic Unit. The zadruga, or South Slavic extendedfamily household, is the most prevalent rural domestic unit even to this day. Even in cities, domestic units often contain extended-family members. Historically, zadrugas consisted of married brothers, their wives, and children. Households of ten or more members were common. These extended-family households functioned as single units of production and provided a common defense. Normally, married brothers would remain together until after the death of their father, but as their own families matured, the household would be divided. Often this went so far as actually disassembling the dwelling and evenly dividing the building materials. Today these households are typically smaller and lineally, rather than laterally, extended. Nonetheless, most rural Serbs continue to live in extended-family households. There has not been the pattern of family nuclearization so often associated with modernization.

Inheritance. Historically, land inheritance was strictly through male lines of descent. Land was divided equally Between a man's sons when the household was divided. Men without male heirs would frequently seek to find an inmarrying son-in-law (a practice counter to the norm of Patrilocal residence). Post-World War II legal codes specify bilateral inheritance, although the laws are still frequently circumvented.

Socialization. Corporal punishment is a common means of discipline. Emphasis has traditionally been placed on Respect for adults and the aged and on conformity to household goals. It is not uncommon today, however, to hear people complaining that children no longer respect their parents and often ignore their wishes.

Also read article about Serbs from Wikipedia

User Contributions:

Comment about this article, ask questions, or add new information about this topic: