Marriage. The traditional Kyrgyz marriage was arranged by parents and extended family members. Young adults often courted, however, and their wishes frequently influenced or determined the choice of mate. In the past, marriage was often highly endogamous for clans and lineages in areas in which the hated Uzbeks, Uighur, and Tajiks were predominant. Only marriages to other Kyrgyz or Kazakhs were acceptable, and children of marriages between Kyrgyz and people of other ethnic groups were often assigned low-status positions in the clan.
Traditional marriage practices in the rural regions maintain pre-Soviet sentiments and have been little affected by Soviet domination, although couples undertake both civil and traditional marriage rituals. Patrilocality remains the norm, and the groom's family in some instances pays a modified form of bride-price. Under the Soviet system, bride-price payments were illegal; the Kyrgyz simply substituted "gifts."
Domestic Unit. The basic residential unit is the oey, or patrilineal extended family, which traditonally shared a yurt.
Inheritance. Under Islamic law men own property, and a man's sons inherit his property. Under Hanafi law, however, which pertains to the Kyrgyz, women may also own property and may inherit their husband's property, although only one-half of the amount inherited by his sons.
Socialization. Prior to the 1917 Revolution, the Kyrgyz were primarily illiterate. The institutionalization of Soviet education throughout the rural and urban areas of Kirghizia in the 1920s and 1930s rapidly brought literacy to the country.