Karaites - Kinship, Marriage, and Family

Until the twentieth century, matrilocal and neolocal residence were the norm; that is, after marriage, the young couple lived with the parents of the bride or started a new household. Now nuclear families are the norm. The dominant figure in a family was the father. Karaites did have customary levirate marriage, though, as a rule, it was avoided by a ritual freeing of the parties from the obligation. Marriages were strictly monogamous. Divorces were prohibited. The parents of the groom, having chosen a bride, sent a matchmaker to her home. Upon agreement of both sides, a day was selected for the betrothal. After the betrothal, a date was set for the wedding, which might take place much later. The groom and his parents were expected to bring a bride-price ( kalym ) for the bride. The bride brought a dowry, which was registered on the marriage document ( chuppa yazysy ) , into the groom's home. The marriage was performed under a canopy ( chuppa ) in the presence of a clergyman and relatives on both sides.

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