Kubachins - Marriage and Family

Marriage. The consummation of marriage and divorce and the arrangements for the division of inherited property were determined by the norms of Quranic law (Sharia). Women were without rights and their conduct was strictly regulated by customary and Quranic law. A wife did not have the right to a divorce, whereas a man could divorce himself from her at any time and take a new wife. Polygamy was not practiced. Marriage between cousins and second cousins was permitted with the approval of the parents. The Kubachins did not marry people from other ethnic groups. The wedding was conducted with great celebration over the course of three days; in the past there was (and to some extent there continues to be) an abundance of ancient rituals and ceremonies accompanied by music, dances, gaiety, mumming, processions, salutations to the bride, visits to the house of her parents, and the ritual of "leading [her] to the water." The contemporary family is based on mutual love and the equality of women and men. Today about 30 percent of marriages are outside the tukhum, but the number is actually declining.

Domestic Unit. The basic form of the family among the Kubachins of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries was the nuclear family. The extended family communes had already dispersed, but individual families could consist of three or four descending generations—grandparents, parents, children, grandchildren—who lived in the large, many-storied house. Consonant with the traditional division of labor by gender in the nuclear family, men were occupied with the basic productive activities outside the home for the support of the family whereas the women managed the domestic economy.

Inheritance. Personal property and privately owned land was inherited in the male line; in the absence of a direct heir it went to the nearest relative in the male line.


Training in traditional arts and crafts occupied a large place in the education of children. Between ages 12 and 14 boys entered "The Union of the Unwed" (Men's Union), where they received physical education and underwent military training (The Kubachi man was expected to be both a trained craftsman and a fighter). Girls from about age 8 to 10 helped in the home and were taught to knit and embroider and to prepare food. Children from an early age acquired the norms and ethics of "mountaineer morality." In the first through tenth grades the local school in Kubachi trains children in arts and crafts, particularly in the manufacture of jewelry; the school is also open to the children of workers from other villages who are employed in Kubachi.

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