Krymchaks - Kinship, Marriage, and Family



Kinship and Descent. No fixed kin groups, apart from the family, existed among the Krymchaks. Descent was bilateral. Ties with immediate relatives are still quite firm.

Marriage and Family. One of the early sources mentions that the Krymchaks practiced polygynous marriage, but in the nineteenth century marriage was strictly monogamous. In the past, marriages were arranged by parents, relatives, or tutors, although cases of forced marriages were quite rare. The families tried to marry off their daughters early, with their dowry prepared starting from the moment they were born. Issues related to dowries served as a topic for lengthy negotiations. From one or two to four months lay between betrothal and marriage. The marriage ceremony itself lasted for a few days at least. The marriage took place according to the Jewish religious ritual, which included a ketuba (marriage contract). This contract specified, among other things, the bride's dowry, which the husband was obligated to return to the wife in case of divorce, adding 10 percent of its total value as a reward for her virginity. In fact, families were very tightly knit and divorces uncommon. Postmarital residence was patrilocal, and the independent nuclear family household established after the marriage was the ideal pattern. Under the pressure of Soviet authorities, religious marriage fell into disuse as early as the 1920s and early 1930s. At present marriages are arranged without intermediaries, by both parties, by free choice. Nuclear families constitute the overwhelming majority, but family ties are still quite strong, even in cases of relatives residing in different cities.

Inheritance. Usually, property was divided equally among sons.

Socialization. Infants and children were raised by parents and siblings. Emphasis was placed on respect for parents, relatives, adults, and the aged in general and on conformity to family and community goals. Much attention was devoted to a boy's religious education and his participation in synagogue services. Corporal punishment was rarely used as a disciplinary measure.


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