Thadou - Marriage and Family

Four forms of marriage exist among the Thadou: chongmu, sahapsat, jol-lha', and kijam mang. The latter two are nonCeremonial betrothal forms akin to elopement. The first of these forms involves the following elements: the negotiation of a bride-price between the parents of the groom and the parents of the bride; the establishment of a date for the removal of the bride from her parents' house to the home of her espoused; the sending (by the groom) of strong young men to retrieve the bride; ceremonial feasting and wrestling (with the throwing of mud, dung, and rotten eggs at the bridegroom's representatives); and the triumphant return of the groom's representatives with the bride. The sahapsat marriage form contains only the marital negotiations between families; the feasting and wrestling are absent. The jol-lha' marriage is resorted to in the case of a pregnancy resulting from premarital relations. In this case, a bride-price is usually agreed upon Before cohabitation begins. When the pregnancy is discovered, cohabitation begins immediately. The kijam mang is a marital arrangement that results from the union of two parties Without the consent of the parents of either bride, groom, or both. The bride-price is settled at some point after the union takes place. Postmarital residence is patrilocal. Divorce is frequent and permissible. Inheritance is exclusively through the male line. Thadou women are the chief agents of socialization. Children are permitted a great degree of independence once they are able to walk. Little structured education is provided by parents, thereby leaving the Thadou child to learn through experiential means.

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