Marriage Practices Essay

Submitted By DinogFl
Words: 1607
Pages: 7

Marriage Practices Among Romani and Kurds
Dean Childs
ANT 101
Instructor Jeri Meyers
July 12, 2014

Marriage Practices Among Romani and Kurds Marriage can have several different meanings depending on where you come from and what your beliefs are. Although definitions may vary greatly, marriage is generally perceived as a way for cultures to recognize interpersonal relationships either ritually or legally and is considered a cultural universal. As the definitions vary between cultures, so can the practices and traditions that constitute marriage. There can be cultural traditions such as arranged marriage, child marriage, polygamy, and forced marriage. This paper will look at a cross-cultural examination of marriage practices between two specific cultures, the Romani (Gypsy) and the Kurds and how these practices affect other aspects of each culture. First, some background regarding who the Romani are and where they came from. It is believed that this culture originated in India and migrated into Midwest Asia and Europe over 1,000 years ago, although the actual reason for the mass exodus is unclear (Walsh & Krieg, 2007). The Romani can be found in over 20 different countries around the world and number in the area of seven to nine million. This paper will primarily concentrate on Central Eastern European population. One of the problems with getting an accurate population number is the fact that the “Roma people are reluctant to self-identify because of their history of oppression and forced assimilation and their distrust of authority” (Walsh & Krieg, 2007, p.170). Their recognized language is Romani, and there exist multiple dialects. Additionally, they are able to speak the native language of the area where they reside in or a mixture of both with is sometimes referred to as Para-Romani. Religion is a very important part of their culture, although there is not a pervasive religion practiced among all. It is generally influenced more by geography then ethnicity (Younge, 2003). The Romani have been persecuted since their arrival into new lands and continue to be even today. They are the largest and fastest growing ethnic minority in Europe and still experience minimal schooling, segregated housing, and unemployment rates over 40% (Walsh & Krieg, 2007). These issues have had much to do with The Romani distrusting outsiders and living in a close-knit, semi-closed community. Now that there is an understanding of who they are and where they came from, it is time to address their marriage practices. As stated previously, because of the amount of persecution experienced, this culture places a high value on the extended family. Marriage among these people happens at a very young age, between 13 to 15 for the females and usually a few years older for the males (Budilová & Jakoubek, 2005). Many of these marriages always have been and are still today arranged by the parents. Traditionally, the institution of the groom’s family paying a fee or bride-price to the family of the bride is still maintained. This is normally compensation for the loss of a daughter’s potential earning power and ensures the family, guarantee the patrilinearity regardless of the fate of the marriage and ensure the female will be treated well in her new family (Pamporov, 2007). Bride-price also has a more culturally significant meaning due to endogamy; it tends to keep the wealth of the kin within the kin and can lead to multiple exchanges between two clans of equal status, thereby having a stratifying effect on the society (Pamporov, 2007). Once married the bride will leave her family and move into her husband’s family home. Once married the man is now socially accepted by other married men and the woman is expected to tend to not only her husband’s needs but the household and in-laws’ as well. In many areas, children represent the “greatest culturally held value, and a woman who has none by the age of 18, for