Kriashen Tatars - Kinship, Marriage, and Family

Kinship. Although the tribal kinship system among the Volga Tatars had atrophied well before the Russian conquest, the Kama Basin Kriashens maintained festivals that were collectively observed by a number of genealogically related villages, usually from four to ten. Kinship is not shared with Islamic Tatar villages, although they have a similar institution of a multivillage festival. Both the Kriashen and Islamic Tatars refer to the institution as jïyïn . The main kinship group was traditionally the extended family descending from a grandfather.

Kinship Terminology. The kinship terms of the Kama Basin Kriashens differ from those of Tatars in general. The terms for all maternal relatives were prefixed with jïraq, meaning "far." Thus, the paternal grandfather was called babay ; the maternal grandfather was called jïraq babay, and so forth.

Marriage. Traditional marriages were usually arranged between the respective families, although elopement was also common, as was bride-abduction. An arranged marriage required the payment of a bride-price ( galïm ) to the bride's family. Residence was patrilocal. Christian prohibitions of divorce were usually disregarded before the Revolution.

Domestic Unit. The traditional domestic unit was the extended family, which could number as few as twelve or as many as forty members. The extended family would usually reside in a single dwelling, but sometimes would inhabit two or more neighboring buildings.

Inheritance. Very little is known about Kriashen inheritance. Property was controlled by the senior male in the extended family, and the property appears to have remained in the household as long as the household was intact. When an extended family fragmented, the departing members had a right to take with them only the property necessary to establish their new household. This traditional system ended with the privatization of the economy in the early twentieth century and was replaced with direct inheritance.

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