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    The Marriage Traditions in Primordial Communities

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    In primordial communities, marriage is one of the most important decisions, not of the individual’s life, but for the community’s survival. In western culture, marriage is made out to be a grand occasion, where two lives come together based off of previously long-term relationships. This is nearly the opposite of how marriage is perceived in such societies. Partners are chosen for reasons which benefit the families, usually resulting in seemingly bizarre situations.

    In many instances, the fathers of the group, referred to as the Elders, are the ones deciding who marries whom. This ensures the entire community’s well being is taken into consideration, protecting its survival. Essentially, the only things that matter when marriage comes around, is how the land will be split, what resources each side receives and possibly what genetics are being transferred, although it might rarely happen. This is because most communities aim to keep resources and property within the clan or tribe, greatly limiting the size of the gene pool, which is potentially counter productive to the survival of the group.

    Traditions are closely followed in primordial communities. Straying from this could bring devastating change. Therefore, tradition is for females to marry as soon as sexual maturity is reached and more often than not, to the older men of the community. These men are able to provide more to the wife and kids because of his higher standing and extended knowledge of the world and the area they inhabit.

    Keeping resources within the family is a necessity because of the already limited access in many of the areas. Tracing the lineage is most commonly through the mother (matrilineal), but could also be through the father (patrilineal). This means that all responsibilities and rights fall to one or the other. For instance, in a matrilineal system, the children, resources and property belong solely to the mother, whereas a patrilineal system gives it to the father. The matrilineal system is most common because every child can be traced to one mother, while it is potentially confusing to know who fathered which child. This problem is particularly seen in polyandrous communities, where multiple males marry one female.

    Marriage can be arranged in different ways. Endogamy and exogamy deal with who each marries, while polyandry and polygamy deal with how many. Exogamy provides more access to resources, a larger gene pool and could be used to solve conflict. In this system, members are married outside of their own clan. Endogamous systems marry the members within the group, primarily used to keep resources within the line, but cause serious genetic mutations over time.

    Polygamy entitles a man to have multiple wives. This is to repopulate a community, after a possible travesty has taken the members, or if there is an uneven gender ratio. Polyandry allows one female to marry multiple males, usually from the same family. This system prevents the family from dividing land and resources, in cases of extreme scarcity. In turn, this limits the birth rate, which also limits the need to divide property.

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    The Marriage Traditions in Primordial Communities. (2022, Dec 15). Retrieved from https://artscolumbia.org/the-marriage-traditions-in-primordial-communities/

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