Grasia - Kinship, Marriage and Family

Only extreme circumstances such as abject poverty, debilitating disease, etc. keep Grasia men and women from marrying, as the Grasias believe marriage is a necessity for all. Boys marry between the ages of 18 and 24, and girls between 14 and 18. The selection of a mate usually is without ritual and involves selecting a spouse and then living together without any marriage ceremony. This arrangement may vary in some areas because of Hindu influence. The only restrictions are that the bride-price must be paid and that the marriage cannot be between cousins. Divorce often occurs if the boy does not like the girl. It is easy and freely permitted.

The terms natra, or nata, refer to widow remarriage, which is quite common and which involves the handing out of bread and jaggery to relatives, and the man making a payment of money to the widow's father and providing the necessary marriage clothes to the widow.

Polygyny occurs but polyandry is unknown, although most Grasia men marry only once. Because of the social structure that exists it is not necessary for him to marry for companionship or even for help in cultivation, as the average holding of a Grasia is small and he is able to do all agricultural work even if he has a small family. The main reasons for a man to take more than one wife are either that his first wife cannot bear children or that she has only female children.

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