Tabasarans - Marriage and Family

Marriage. Not only the immediate family but a wide circle of relatives was occupied with the selection of a bride or a groom. A family would seek out a bride from a circle of families that were equal in social and economic position to that of their own family. The usual age of marriage for both young women and young men was 15-16 years. Marriages were forbidden between families related by ritual kinship. Marriage was by arrangement; infant betrothal, levirate, sororate, marital exchange, and abduction were also known. The wedding lasted three or four days, attended by relatives and covillagers and accompanied by dances, songs, masked performances, and horse races. Postmarital residence was patrilocal.

Domestic Unit. The nuclear family predominated in the nineteenth century, but up until the twentieth century undivided families were not uncommon, with the residues of large (extended) family organization consisting of three or even more generations and including several couples. An indispensable condition of intrafamilial relations in both the individual and the small family was a solicitous, respectful relation to the woman (wife, mother, sister, daughter). To offend or insult a woman was considered shameful behavior unworthy of a man.

Inheritance. Inheritance followed the norms of Sharia (Quranic law), always taking the degree of consanguinity into account. On the death of the father of a family, the property was divided as follows: first the debts of the deceased were paid off; then a sixth each of the property was apportioned to the father and the mother and an eighth to the widow (a childless widow received a quarter, not counting the kebin, the material insurance for a wife in case of separation or the death of the husband); then the rest was divided among the sons and daughters, with twice as much going to the former as the latter. If only a daughter survived, then she would get one-half of all the property, and if there were several daughters, they would get two-thirds of the total, with the remainder going to the deceased's patrilineal relatives (twice as much to men as to women). The law of inheritance, to which the maysums, qadis, and beh adhered, was based on Quranic law, which completely deprived women of the right to inherit immovable property (which passed down only to direct heirs in the male line, that is, to sons, or, in the absence of them, to brothers or other close consanguines). Children of a marriage between partners of unequal rank had the same rights as so-called pure-blooded beks.

Socialization. The mother and grandmother raised the children. Great significance was attached to moral education, the inculcation of work skills, and the acquisition by children of the norms of social behavior and the customs and traditions of the people and its moral and cultural inheritance. Familial education was directly supplemented by that of the commune.

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