Siberian Tatars - Marriage and Family

The small monogamous family was the basic social unit. All power was concentrated in the hands of the family head, the oldest male. The position of women was inferior to that of men. They lacked the freedom to choose a husband, could be married off at a very young age, and inherited a smaller share. Today extended families have disappeared and spouses are legally equal.

In recent decades many family rituals have changed, such as those connected with the birth of a child: the invitation of a midwife (births now take place in "birthing homes"), the carrying out of a sacred washing, rubbing of a boy's lips with a mixture of honey and butter or grease ( maslo ), measures for combating evil spirits, and the holiday of the cradle. Sometimes all that is observed today is the "miracle holiday of children."

In the past marriage was by arrangement, by the voluntary going forth of the bride, or by abduction. Today the latter two forms have disappeared, and the arrangement not infrequently is played out as a dramatic representation. The paying of bride-price has also fallen into disuse. Some national traditions have been preserved: a religious ritual, the wedding itself, the greeting of the bride's parents by the groom, the transfer of the young girl to the husband's house, and the visit by the young couple to the bride's parents' house.

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