Ingilos - Marriage and Family

Marriage. The common Georgian ethnic features are especially apparent in the realm of marital relations, and in many particulars the Ingilo marriage and its associated ceremonies preserve more features of the ancient Georgian institution of marriage and its corresponding social terminology than do marriage ceremonies elsewhere in Georgia. Ingilos customarily prefer to marry within their ethnic group, but this does not exclude the possibility of marriage with members of other groups.

Although women's rights were limited within the patriarchal family, they enjoyed considerable leeway in internal family matters and in the observance of customary avoidance, despite the fact that a bride-price may have been paid. This can be linked to the traditional propertied status of women, which arises from their authority and their personal possessions. The latter is based on the dowry, which came to be regarded as an inalienable possession of a woman married into a household, forming part of the economic basis of her rights within the family.

Domestic Unit. In domestic life the Ingilos maintained a series of traditional practices that have local as well as pan-Georgian characteristics. Until recent times, alongside nuclear families, the large patriarchal family, consisting at times of over fifty members, continued to be an important component of the social structure. This family type was characterized by specific forms of property, government, and division and organization of labor according to age and gender. Among the members of the extended family there were clearly delimited rights and responsibilities in the sphere of property relations, manifested in the apportionment of major family holdings among the males of the senior generation.

The Ingilo family, it has been noted, has a patrilineal structure. The members of the lineage took an active part in the rituals associated with the birth of a child, especially a son. A son was considered a symbol of the unity and power of the socioeconomic kinship group because young women, once married, would leave their paternal kinship group, whereas males remained in their household, within the matrix of the local group, and continued in the traditions of their ancestors.

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