Dargins - Marriage and Family



Marriage. Marriage was based on Sharia (Islamic law). Endogamous marriages within the tukhum, usually between patronymies, were common, but marriages between tukhums were not uncommon. The age of marriage was from 13 to 20 for women and 15 to 25 for men; the ideal ages were 17 and 25, respectively. Marriage was patrilocal. Divorce was based on Sharia and usually initiated by the husband's. The wife had the right to divorce in two cases: if the husband was physically incapacitated or if he was not in a position to support the family materially. The stages leading to marriage were matchmaking, agreement, betrothal, and arrival "in the other's house." The wedding ceremony ( mahar ) was performed by a mullah or qadi; the groom and the bride's father (or, more often, delegates from both sides) participated. The bride's consent, given to her father in the presence of a witness, was obligatory. A marriage tax ( kebin ) was imposed to guarantee the bride's security in the event of widowhood or divorce initiated by the husband. After the wedding the bride became part of the new household in several stages: she was brought into the family room of the husband's house; she fetched water at the village spring for the first time; she returned home; restrictions on contact with her in-laws lapsed.

Inheritance. In customary law ( adat ) inheritance was only along the male line: women had no rights of inheritance. Under the influence of Sharia, women received the right to inherit half of a man's portion.

Socialization. The major concern in traditional child rearing was introducing the child, from a young age, to his or her future occupations, consistent with the gender-based division of labor: future warrior or future housewife and mother. Considerable attention was devoted to training the child in work habits, moral qualities, obedience, and respect for elders. There was no ritual initiation, although there were age trials (involving, for example, endurance of pain, and tests of self-control, courage, skill, etc.). Adulthood was marked for a young man by receiving a dagger to wear, for a young woman by putting on an element of clothing or an ornament from her grandmother that had been kept in a trunk for the occasion.


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