Family Life and Kinship Relations Among the Mizos in Mizoram

Topics: Family, Kinship, Marriage Pages: 6 (2101 words) Published: January 19, 2013
The early Mizo society was a simple tribal society which had no known contact with her neighboring civilizations until the eighteen century. The great majority of Mizoram's population is several ethnic tribes who are either culturally or linguistically linked. The society was strictly patriarchal and patrilineal with a well-defined culture of its own. Children grow up with their parents and paternal grandparents. No serious distinction is made between boys and girls during early childhood. Female infanticide ended more than sixty years ago. Mizos put much emphasis on teaching the child to develop a sense of group cooperation and Christian values. The Mizos are close-knit society with no class distinction and no class discrimination on grounds of sex. Ninety percent of them are cultivators and the village functions as a large family. Birth of a child, marriage in the village, and death of a person in the village are important occasions and the whole village would typically become involved. The Mizo tribe is a fast developing tribe as this is evident from the fact that after the Christian Missionaries set foot in Mizoram in 1894, almost every Mizo had adopted the Christian faith. However while there was development in one field, people gradually seemed to be discarding their old customs and ways of life due to the influence of Christianity and modernization. Family life:

The Mizo follow the patriarchal form of society, the line of family tree is reckoned from the side of the father. They do not distinguish between household and family. The people who live together under one roof and eat from the same hearth belong to one family. The average size of a family is between six and seven people. The nuclear family is the common type. The vertico-horizontal type of family tends to split into two sections, the nuclear family and the stem family. The life of the vertico-horizontal type of family is the shortest. This Ego-centered cyclic change is a unique feature. Usually the family comprises of the father and the mother and several children. Sometimes we may also find the sister of the father living with them or at times a relative may also be living with them. Domestic unit - In the early Mizo society, there was a clear-cut boundary as regards the duties to be performed by men and women. The women know very well what duties they are assigned to and vice-versa - one will not interfere with the duties of the opposite sex. They perform their activities well and even a family who happens to be very poor will not go begging but will instead try to support oneself seeking the help from others which appeared to be very respectful, and it was considered very disgraceful to go begging. Status - The status of the mother in a family may be difficult to explain. In a word it can be said that she is in charge of the house, and thus she occupies the most important position in the family, because it is she who looks after the children, manages food and clothing for the family and arranges earthen pots etc. She looks after the domestic animals such as pigs and the chickens. The father however, is the head of the family and it is he who makes all the decisions. He looks after all the work other than the house hold and it is his duty to see that everything is in order. Naming a child:

While naming a child there is no restriction in the case of a child born in the family of the chief. An infant can bear any name which the parents may wish for him/her. But in the case of the general community naming their child is a difficult task because they have to be careful not to offend their chief with their selection of certain names which the chief may not favor. One significant features in Mizo names which distinguishes a male from a female is that the names of females usually end with the alphabet ‘i’ and ‘a’ for that of a male though again there are certain clans and sub-clans who do not follow this pattern. Another feature of Mizo names is...
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