Belarussians - Kinship, Marriage, and Family

The Belarussians had several types of families in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The small family (six or seven people) was prevalent; at the same time there were large patriarchical families that consisted of several generations of relatives and also fraternal families. Marriage was usually virilocal—although the husband moving in with the family of his wife ( primachestvo ) was a fairly frequent alternative. The unity of two unrelated groups or the adoption of a nonrelative ( zdolnik ) into the family for the purposes of making the economy more effective were peculiar forms of family relations. Relations both in the large patriarchical family and the small families were based on the authoritarian power of the eldest man ( batsko ) and his wife.

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