Newar - Marriage and Family



Marriage. Marriage is generally monogamous and Postmarital residence is virilocal. Polygyny is allowed in the absence of a son from the first wife. Caste endogamy is the rule. Contrary to what some authors claim, there are not all that many cases of divorce, intercaste marriages, or "climbing the [caste] ladder." Village endogamy occurs occasionally, but not in typical settlements. Cross-cousin marriage is forbidden. Marriage is usually arranged by parents who use a gobetween. Marriage by elopement is popular in some peripheral villages.

Domestic Unit. A patrilineal extended family in which married brothers live with their parents is the ideal type of Newar household. In actuality, there are situations in which demographic, economic, and social conditions prevent the formation of these extended households.

Inheritance. Property is divided equally among the sons. Daughters are given a certain amount of the family property as kwasa in the form of utensils, furniture, clothes, money, etc. at the time of marriage.

Socialization. Although children are taken care of by many members of the family, mothers have very close ties with their children. A child is often fed from his or her mother's breast for more than three years. Physical punishment is not Common. Girls are required from the age of 7 or 8 to help in cooking, carrying water, and looking after small children. Boys are freer to play when small but they too work in agriculture, shopkeeping, etc. when the family is busy. Formal schooling has become more important recently.


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