Doukhobors - Kinship, Marriage and Family



Kinship. Canadian Doukhobor kinship patterns are Typical of North American society, except that family status, connections, and history are a significant component of Individual status in community settlement and political patterns. This is probably a heritage of Russian village life.

Marriage. Doukhobor marriage traditions are unclear Before the late eighteenth century, when there was a period of significant informal rites and free choice among young People. Through the nineteenth century and into the early years of Canadian settlement, arranged marriages became the norm, with individual choice now the norm. Doukhobor marriage rites are oral with a variety of verbal rituals and Community recognition of a union. Such marriages were not recognized in British Columbia until the late 1950s, and many injustices resulted. Marriages with non-Doukhobors have occurred since earliest times in Canada, increasing significantly since the 1940s. By the 1960s, ritual practices were North American to a marked degree. Today, traditional practices are used for marriage within the community and for joint rituals for intermarriages.

Socialization. During the communal period, there was broad resistance to public schooling, which was seen as assimilative at best and a tool of the Antichrist at worst. In the 1920s some public schools were burned, but after provincial government reprisals the community gradually accepted and then embraced public education. Freedomites resisted until the 1950s, when such draconian measures as the forcible placement of their children in an isolated fenced school broke resistance. Today only a couple of families conduct home education, while most Freedomites and Reformed find the public schools tolerable if not beneficial. Socialization always began within the family, where children have their highest value. In the 1930s a Sunday school movement was begun which continues to the present. In the 1950s, the uscc sponsored Russian-language classes in the community, usually after hours in local schools. In the last decade, local school districts have introduced Russian language and immersion classes into the general curriculum.


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