Oriya - Marriage and Family

Marriage. Although polygyny was practiced earlier, most marriages today are monogamous. Most marriages even now are also arranged by parents, though some are based on the mutual choice of the marriage partners. Only in western Orissa and southern Orissa is cousin marriage practiced. Marriage partners must not belong to the same gotra (mythical patrilineal descent group). Bride-price among the lower and middle castes has been replaced by a more costly dowry for the bridegroom among all classes and castes. After Marriage, residence is patrilocal, with the bride assuming the gotra of the husband. Nowadays residence tends to be Neolocal near the place of work. The Hindu marriage was ideally for this life and beyond, but since 1956 divorce has been permitted under legal procedures.

Domestic Unit. Living in a family is considered normal and proper. Most families today in both villages and towns are nuclear, though some are joint families. Members working and living outside usually visit the residual family and shrines occasionally. Often land is cultivated jointly by sharing the farm expenses. Recently there has been a tendency to reduce the size of the rural household through family planning.

Inheritance. Traditionally only sons inherited land and other immovable properties. The eldest son was given an additional share ( jyesthansha ). Since 1956 the widow and daughters have been legal cosharers in all property.

Socialization. Parents, grandparents, and siblings care for infants and children and provide informal—and, recently, formal—education before school. Education of girls is still not common beyond primary school. Physical punishment to discipline a child is common, though infants are usually spared and cuddled. Respect for seniors in all situations and the value of education are emphasized, especially among the higher classes.

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