Traditional Marriage Customes of Jingpo People

The basic unit of Jingpo society was the small family of husband and wife. Some "shanguans" and rich peasants practiced polygamy. The family was headed by the father. A family with only daughters might have a son-in-law to live with them, but the son-in-law did not change his surname and his children would take his surname instead of that of his mother. A childless family could adopt a son, who was required to support his foster parents and had the right to inherit their property. Elderly people without children were usually looked after by their relatives. The Jingpo family retained the system of inheritance by the youngest son. While the eldest son would set up a separate family after marriage, the youngest son would remain to support his parents and inherit most of their property. The youngest son had a definitely higher status than his brothers. Women had a low status in Jingpo society.

The Jingpo wedding (photo from photo.cnhubei.com)

The Jingpos practiced a hierarchical intermarriage system, that is, intermarriage between "shanguan" families and between common peasant households. While young people could freely socialize, their marriage, often involving many betrothal gifts, was arranged by their parents. Bride snatching was a common occurrence. When people died they were buried in the ground except for those who died unnaturally. They were without exception cremated and their ashes were buried.




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