Mikir - Marriage and Family

Marriage. Monogamous unions are the Mikir norm, though polygyny also occurs (usually in the case of wealthy men able to afford more than one wife). Males are married between the ages of 14 and 25. Females are married between the ages of 12 and 15. Premarital sexual relations between males and females are uncommon, though in previous Generations, when the maro (bachelors' house) was an active institution, liaisons are believed to have been more frequent. Marital infidelity is rare. Postmarital residence is patrilocal, a newly married couple taking up residence with the bridegroom's father. The only exception to this norm occurs if the female is an heiress or an only daughter. In such an instance, the couple reside with the bride's father. Divorce is permissible, though rare, and the remarriage of divorced persons is not prohibited. Widows are also allowed to remarry.

Domestic Unit. Small nuclear families are the Mikir norm. A typical household will consist of the members of a single family together with its male biological offspring and their families.

Inheritance. Sons inherit the property of their fathers, the eldest son receiving a greater share than his siblings. Daughters receive no inheritance from their father's estate. A widow may obtain control of the deceased husband's property by marrying another member of his kur. Otherwise, she is allowed to keep nothing more than her personal property (i.e., clothing, personal ornaments, etc.). Upon the death of a Father, the surviving family usually remains undivided and adult sons support their widowed mother. A father may choose to divide his property during his lifetime.

Socialization. Little that is specific may be said of childrearing practices among the Mikir. From the makeup of the typical domestic unit one may deduce that this is a responsibility shared by all family members. In the case of male youth, the maro (young men's dormitory) played an important part in the process of socialization at one time. The young men's association has survived as an institution, though the maro has been replaced by the home of the gaonbura (village headman). This organization is hierarchically structured and its members eat and work the village fields together.

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