Talysh - Marriage and Family

The Talysh family is basically monogamous. Larger families are encountered sporadically. Polygyny is permitted by Sharia, but such families are found only rarely, which the Talysh explain by citing the major role of women in the cultivation of rice, the major crop; this gives them the power to resist competition from additional wives. The Talysh marry at the age of 15 to 20 years (for boys) and 12 to 16 years (for girls), with the payment of a kebin (bride-price), which consists of money as well as objects (a carpet, a brass vessel, etc.). To avoid the payment of the kebin, the groom sometimes abducts the bride. For an early marriage, the parents select the bride for their son. After the matchmaking the parents of the girl invite the groom and his comrades to their home ( kon nak'likh ) as guests. When the bride arrives, an uncle or a brother of the groom puts a sash around her waist three times and puts his papakha (fur cap) on her head three times, pronouncing, "Mother, sister, maiden, bride. I want you to have seven sons and one daughter!" On bringing the bride into the house, the groom's family slaughters a ram and throws the head to one side and the trunk to the other; the bride then enters the house between the head and the body of the ram (a purification ritual widespread in Persia, performed when meeting high-ranking individuals). Once the bride has entered the house, a cup of honey is placed on her head; later, seven young boys eat the honey. Among the northern Talysh participants at the wedding customarily give gifts to the groom (money and objects) and announce to the other guests who gave what and how much. After three days a friend of the groom (the dayna ) leads the bride to a spring to fetch water for the first time—an important sign of the conclusion of the wedding and the beginning of the family life of the bride.

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