Vedda - Marriage and Family



Marriage. As is implied by Dravidian kinship terminology, the Veddas practice classificatory cross-cousin marriage. Among the Anuradhapura Veddas approximately 15 percent of marriages are between first cross cousins. The percentage is lower among the Coast Veddas, who also intermarry with outsiders more frequently than do the Anuradhapura Veddas. Almost all marriages within all three groups of Veddas are monogamous. The independent family household is the ideal. Most newly married couples, however, live for a while either in or close to the household of one of their Parents. Divorce is common in the early years of marriage.


Domestic Unit. Among the Anuradhapura and Coast Veddas the normal unit is the nuclear family household whose members work together and eat from the same hearth. Among the Bintenne Veddas, it is common to find more than one related family living in the same shelter or house.


Inheritance. All sons and daughters have equal rights of inheritance, but among the Bintenne Veddas the daughter's inheritance, usually land, is typically given to her husband at the time of marriage, although this is not specifically referred to as dowry. Dowry is not significant among the Veddas as a whole, although some wealthier Veddas in all three groups give it in emulation of higher status Tamil or Sinhalese Families living in the vicinity.


Socialization. Children are raised by parents and older Siblings. Vedda children have comparatively poor access to the educational institutions in Sri Lanka.

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