CHAPTER VI: AFFINES, MARRIED DAUGHTERS, MATERNAL UNCLES
The maternal uncles have important ritual obligations in relationship to their ( living in the household), and the affines of the household head are regarded as close He is expected to help and look after his nephews and nieces, if his sister. Worship of the deceased and ancestors follows matrilateral relationships and the reveal a clear identification between maternal uncles and nephews. maternal uncles have rights of life and death over the younger members of the lineage. of their clothes and rub their heads, their chest and all their body with ashes;. I am your father's brother's nephew's cousin's former roommate. (Lord Dark Helmet and Lone Starr, discussing family relationships in the Mel If Edna marries your mother's uncle Charlie, what should you call her? Rather, you have to count up all of your children, and all of their children, and so on.
The control of parents was so great as to include the right to sell daughters in marriage, but not, without restrictions, into slavery Ex This power, at least for sacrificial purposes, was entirely removed by the Law, and changed, even for punishment, in the case of a stubborn, rebellious, gluttonous and disobedient son to a mere right of complaint to the proper authorities De Infanticide by exposure, such as was common among other ancient peoples, seems never to have been practiced by the Hebrews.
That the children were nevertheless the chattels of the parents seems to be attested from the fact that they could be seized for the debts of the father 2Ki 4: The father could annul the vows of his daughter Nu A widowed or divorced daughter could return to her father Ge At his death the mother would become the actual, if not the legal, head of the household 2Ki 8: This was especially true of the queen mother gebhirahwhose name is usually given in the accounts of the kings of Judah 1Ki 1: While it is true that the position of the widowed mother depended to some extent on the will of her son 1Ki 2: The rebellion of children marked the acme of social degeneration Mic 7: The terms "brother" 'ach; adelphos and "sister" 'ahoth; adelphe apply to children of the same father and mother Ge 4: The brother as well as the father was the natural protector of the honor of his sister; thus, the sons of Jacob speak of Dinah as "our daughter" Ge Absalom feels more deeply aggrieved over the crime against Tamar than does David himself 2Sa The brother's other duties toward a sister were very much like those of a father Song 8: The Law strictly forbids the intermarriage of brother and sister, whether of the same father and mother or not, whether born at home or born abroad, as a "disgraceful thing" chesedh, a different word from checedh, "kindness" Le In earlier times marriage between half-brother and sister was allowable Ge In fact, we are expressly told that the laws against incest were not obeyed by the Egyptians or the Canaanites Le Brotherly sentiment was highly developed Ge Brothers were ever ready to protect or avenge each other 2Sa 3: Indeed, it is part of the unwritten, common law, recognized though not necessarily approved in the Bible, that the brother or next of kin, the go'el, is expected to avenge a death Nu A brother was also expected to ransom a captive or slave Le Half-brothers were of course not so near as brothers of the full blood compare Joseph and his brothersand it is not surprising to find the sons of a wife despising and driving out the son of a harlot Jg The words "brother" and "sister" are used frequently of more distant relationships see below and figuratively of a friend.
Uncles, Aunts, Cousins, Kinsmen: The Hebrew dodh Le Intermarriage between nephew and aunt i. For other relations of this and remoter degrees the word for brother is loosely used e. If such passages as Ge 2: The wife was "taken" by her husband, or "given" by her father or, in the case of a servant, by her master or mistress Ge 2: Love between the young people was given due consideration as in the case of Samson, Shechem, Jacob and Rachel Ge As a matter of legal right, it is probable that throughout the Orient long before the events narrated in the Book of Esther, every man did "bear rule in his own house" Es 1: In fact a precedent for the Persian decree has been traced as far back as the first human pair Ge 3: Nevertheless, we find many instances in which the wife seems to take the lead in the affairs of the household, as in the case of Samson's parents Jg Abraham is even commanded by the voice of God, "In all that Sarah saith unto thee, hearken unto her voice" Ge That most women were not so fortunate is probably best attested by the fact that at least in the earlier times the best of them had to resort to stratagem to accomplish their purposes as in the cases of Rebekah Ge Perhaps their humbler sisters in later days accomplished their ends by being so contentious as to attract the notice of two proverb-collectors Pr Though we have no instance of the exercise of the right of life and death over the wife by the husband, and though it is clear that the Hebrew husband had no power of sale compare Ex It must not be forgotten, however, that the husband owed duties to the wife Ex It must also be borne in mind that great divergence existed at different times and places, and in different stations of society.
Most of our Old Testament evidence pertains to the wealthier classes. The two extremes of the women that are "at ease in Zion" Isa The latter probably gives the fairer as well as the more wholesome picture of the functions of the wife in the home, and it is significant that her husband as well as her sons are expected to call her blessed Pr It is difficult to estimate the extent to which polygamy and concubinage were practiced in ancient Palestine, but it is clear that the former practice was discouraged even among kings De The position of a less-favored wife De Hence, the Law forbade the marrying of two sisters Le On the other hand so strong was the desire of a Hebrew mother for children that the childless wife welcomed the children of a maidservant born to her husband as her own Ge In normal Hebrew society, for reasons already explained, the relations of a family with the husband's parents cham, from chamoth were closer than those with the wife's parents chothen, feminine chotheneth; pentheros, penthera.
Where under special conditions a man remained with his wife's tribe after marriage, as in the case of Jacob, serving out his mohar, or Moses fleeing from the wrath of the Egyptians, or the sons of Elimelech sojourning in the land of Moab because of the famine in Palestine, his identity with his own tribe was not destroyed, and at the first opportunity the natural impulse was to return to his own country.
The woman also returns whatever jewelry, etc. According to Nepali, the costs of the lakha should be returned, although if the woman contracted several marriages, only the first husband gets full compensation, the second gets half of what he has given the first, and the third gets nothing if the woman leaves him for a fourth husband.
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The payment was calculated at the rate of two rupees per lakha given at the marriage. Indeed, it was difficult to obtain any data on divorces, as they are infrequent and regarded as somewhat stigmatizing. Gifts of food are quite common between the two households.
There is, thus, an expectation that the balance should be slightly in favour of the wife-receivers. This is further expressed in that at marriages, Kyetapujas, and other similar ceremonies, the husbands of the married daughters are preferred to be in charge of and responsible for the supplies, which may be stored in a room to which only they have the key.
Although they need not defray all costs, if some crucial item is missing, they are likely to procure it, as they are expected to, and by so doing they fulfill their roles as good sons-in-law.
At marriages, for instance, this can be a rather heavy responsibility, as there may be several hundreds guests who are to be sumptuously feasted.
These items are set in a mandala made of rice flour and mustard oil. There will be one mandala for each participant, plus one dedicated to Yama, the god of death. The underlying conception is that one thus petitions Yama for longevity. At the Mhapuja the members of the household sit in a line in front of the mandalas.
The women of the house worship the men by giving them sinha and dhau i. Finally they hand over the fruits and the nuts which have been placed in the centre of the mandalas. Children are also thus worshipped, and the children in return worship their mothers. There is considerable variation in the details of the ritual, depending on caste and household composition.
The above account refers to the Mhapuja as observed by the Jyapu in Sunakothi. The following day Kijapuja lit. In this puja sisters worship their brothers and petition Yama that they may live long, in nearly the same way as the wives worship their men at the Mhapuja. However, at the Kijapuja, sisters also have a receiving function to fill, as the brother, after having been given sinha and the articles in the mandala, reciprocates by giving his sister money and, if he can afford it, a new cloth or even a new sari.
The symbolism in this exchange is obvious. The affines wish their son-in-law longevity, good luck, etc. His household provides the worshipping materials to that end. Indeed, both Mhapuja and Kijapuja are performed to ward off death. Once the woman has delivered her first child more time is spent there, and after she has had a number of children most of her time is spent there.
Among the Shrestha the women of her parental household, particularly her mother, will come before the delivery to look after her and feed her curd and beaten rice. To go to look after a daughter thus is known as Dhau baji naka wane, i. The Jyapus of Sunakothi have a similar custom, but call it Caku naka wai, i.
The woman who is about to give birth to a child is thus visited by her mother and other female relatives, who feed her flattened rice, caku molassescurd, chick peas, soy beans, beans, celery, wa a kind of bread made from pulsesand thon rice beer.
The Uray call the post-parturition visits Bicha ya wanegu to go to look after a woman in labour. There used to be two of them; but nowadays only one is made, and the food gifts of what previously were two visits are now delivered at the same time, after the Macabu benke. Here, I will account for the two traditional visits. At the first, one brought purely vegetarian foodstuffs: This visit was made shortly after the delivery, while the second was two to three weeks later.
Then, one brought solely non-vegetarian foods. There would be l2 pieces of lapi flat pieces of fried minced meat, lit. There would be one dharni of meat, half in the form of lapi, half in the form of chunla. The contrasting of vegetarian and non-vegetarian food is notable here. The first visit is made shortly after delivery; the second visit was paid some weeks later.
However, both visits were paid after the Macabu benke. Between the birth and the Macabu benke the woman is regarded as impure.
I was unable to get an explanation for the practice, which has ceased anyway. As the woman is impure before the benke and pure after, one may conjecture that the vegetarian foods emphasized her marginality, whereas the meat stressed that she had returned to her normal state.
Logically, the first visit should then have been before the benke, but this is denied by my informants. The basket will be filled with chi saltpalu gingercaku molassesimu celeryand goye betel nuts. The basket is delivered by a Jyapuni, and the contents of the basket reveal the sex of the child. If a boy has been born, the caku will be formed into a round ball, and the betel nuts will be unbroken, i. The roundness represents testicles.
If a girl has been born, the caku will be made into a flat cake, and the betel nuts will be neatly halved to indicate flatness. The analogy here is that the vagina is flat. If a boy has been born, it is held six days after the delivery; in case a girl has been born, it is held four days after the delivery. Approximately a month later the young mother will move to her parental household for at least a month.Sansani: Wife shaves head of her husband and his girlfriend infront of everyone for cheati
This is regarded as a holiday for her, as she need not do any domestic work. This visit is known as Macabu lahika wanegu lit. During this period she does not see her husband, but her mother-in-law will come to visit her bringing postigan for her. The mother-in-law brings at least one dharni 2. It is regarded as very tasty and fattening. It is said to be good for the new mother to eat it as a part of the recuperation after the parturition.
She is not allowed to sit in the same line as her father, brothers, and other patrilineal relatives, although she may be in the same room and take part in the preparation of and even serve the feast foods. At the temple she officiates in a rite in which Ganesh is first offered laddu a round sweet meat.
Then, the laddu is fed to the child as prasad. The rite is known as Kathu pwa chayekegu, lit. At the Bu san khan lit. If there are no mhayemaca in the household, the wife of the eldest male will do it. Furthermore, seemingly among all Newars, the mhayemaca have important obligations during the period subsequent to a death.
After a death the household members are temporarily polluted for twelve days. The pollution extends to the whole phuki. Then the mhayemaca, who are regarded as polluted for only four days, are responsible for seeing that the household gets food. The cooking may in some instances be done in the house of the deceased, though the Uray do not cook any food in the house for the first four days.
On the evening of the fourth day, the mhayemaca and other related women who are not members of the phuki bring flattened rice, brown sugar, ginger, salt and curd for a mourning meal known as loca baji. The women bring the food in cloth-covered baskets, and as they walk through the streets, they weep ostentatiously.
The closer the relationship to the deceased, the more food the individual woman will bring. The food is served by the mhayemaca to the phuki members who sit in line in order of seniority. The food served to the Jugi is boiled rice ja. Then, also their husband and children may be included in the invitation. The paju is of great emotional and ritual importance to Newari children, and he often has a very close relationship to his nieces and nephews, who frequently visit his home.
Nepali has attested to the significance of the maternal uncle thus: He has to be loved and respected: Whatever he does and says are to be tolerated. Furthermore, the maternal uncles have important ritual functions to fulfill in the samskaras life cycle rituals of his nephews or nieces. These relationships are also emphazised by customs related to food.
Below, I will give some examples. This takes place every year. But, by far, the most important function related to ritual foods for the maternal uncle s is to provide bahn s sacrificial animals for the Kyetapuja of his nephews. If a buffalo is given, the money for it may be pooled on the maternal side, i. Among the Jyapu the Kyetapuja is celebrated on a large scale.
The day before the Kyetapuja, choyala bhu is observed.
The choyala bhu consists of choyala, kwala, baji, dayekula, ghalaphala, achar, kachila, musya, kegu, and alu tarakari. At the choyala bhu the maternal uncle is seated in the place of honour, i. However, apart from the rules regarding the uncle and his nephew, no further seating order is prescribed.
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The choyala bhu is performed in the evening, at approximately P. When the food is finished the bholis persons who serve the food put kwala pronounced: The kwala will here be either buffalo brain or lung which has been roasted. Now the maternal uncle says: Here a special point is made that the beer must be pure, as at other times, when there are great congregations of people at feasts, the beer will often be diluted with water to a secondary quality.
When the kwala has been washed down with pure beer, curd, and sugar are served as a dessert. This is followed by sisapusa lit.
At last pieces of betel nut, cloves, and cardamoms are given to everyone. Then the whole party moves down to the gap yaye kotha, the gossiping room. Here beer is served to everyone. The Jyapu have no inhibition against having even the smallest toddler drink beer, and some time is spent in pleasant chatter. Now, he is first worshipped by the Gubhaju and by his mother. Then, the maternal uncles and aunts bring sagan, a good omen, a plate with dhau curd and baji flattened ricejaki uncooked ricevermilion, flowers, one five paisa coin, and four eggs.
The initiand will also be given one piece of cloth and a cap. On this day the household abstains from boiled rice also which marks the liminality of the occasion. Later, a procession goes to worship Ganesh, the god who protects the locality, and sacrifices the bahn animals given by the maternal uncles. The maternal uncle and the aunt are the last ones to worship the initiand before the procession sets off to the local Ganesh temple.
The procedure was described to me as follows. The maternal uncle and aunt begin their worship by scattering rice grains and puffed rice over the initiand.
They put flowers in his hair and apply tika to his forehead. Then they present him with one piece of cloth on which five rupees and five paisa coins are placed.
Rice and flowers are also given to him, and so is the sagan referred to above. The nephew bows down to the floor, paying obeisance to them. Then the new cloth is put on his shoulder.
When this rite has been completed, the participants go downstairs and on outdoors to the Ganesh temple of the locality where the bahn are sacrificed to Ganesh. In the evening si ka bhu is performed. In this particular si ka bhu the following persons participate: They are seated in the following order: A simple feast is served first.
When this has been concluded, one proceeds to take the si. The si for this occasion consists of eight pieces prepared from each of the sacrificed animals.
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At first he will direct the right eye, which is most valued, to the Gubhaju; then he will take the left eye himself, and then the right ear is given to his nephew, the initiand.
The rest of the goat head can be distributed according to his liking. No prescribed order prevails here. However, my informant said: The nephew of the uncles is indulged to the extent that the ranking normally prevailing is partly bypassed; only the Gubhaju is not bypassed at the taking of si. This is extraordinary, as seniority tends to be observed very strictly in other ritual contexts, and it expresses the special quality of the avuncular relationship.
It reflects the fact that the relationship to the maternal uncle is radically different from those within the household and the phuki, where the child will be on the lowest rungs of the seniority order and is expected to be deferent and obeisant to the senior men.
Although a nephew is expected to respect his maternal uncle, the relationship is not regulated by the strict rules which apply in his relationships to senior phuki members.
On the other hand, the relation to the maternal uncle can not be described as a joking relationship. Indeed, FZH is also called paju, though ninupaju. In a slightly different form of Kyetapuja, also practiced by the Jyapu, one will make fun of the paju. This version of the Kyetapuja follows the same procedures as those accounted for above, but also has some additions. When the sacrifice to Ganesh is concluded, the party proceeds to the Chaphaphal place name crossroads in the centre of the village.
There the Gubhaju makes a large mandala, ritual pattern on the ground. The mandala is worshipped with rice and seven unbroken betel nuts.
The boy, or the boys, will be placed in different parts of the mandala. The boys are expected to walk seven steps forward, while the sajipajus remain at the same spot; then the boys dash off to circumambulate certain deities. As the boys dash off, the sajipajus run after them trying to catch them as best they can.
If a maternal uncle succeeds in catching his nephew, he lifts him up and carries him around the God the nephew was attempting to round, and gives him five rupees, or more.
If the uncle fails to catch his nephew, he is much chagrined, or at least he pretends to be, and the assembled crowd laughs at him. Sometimes the assembled onlookers will playfully interfere and grab hold of the maternal uncle the very instant he is about to catch his nephew. He is then provided with the following food items: It is also essential to send with him one leg from a goat, sheep, or buffalo. This leg is known as chaphan, and any leg from the sacrificed animals will do.
Before leaving, the maternal uncles and other relatives who stayed the night go to the bholi kotha. In this room the things used during the Kyetapuja i. There one bows down and offers three to five rupees to the bholis. Then, the bholis will serve some choyala, wa, ayela, and thon and kwala. During the proceedings of the Kyetapuja one bholi has stayed in the bholi khota all the time. He has then been in charge of the supplies and of their distribution during the three days the Kyeta puja has lasted.
The Kyetapuja of the Uray is different from that of the Jyapu. Unlike the Jyapu the Urays do not sacrifice animals bahn, nor is choyala bhu held in connection with the Kyeta puja. Instead of providing bahn the maternal uncle sends two miniature razors, one of gold lu khaca and one of silver aoh khaca. In the early morning, the Nau comes to shave the head of the initiand. Before the Nau begins the maternal uncle makes some shaving gestures with the razors he has given.
Later a procession is held to the local Ganesh temple. The initiand wears a kyeta a minimal piece of cloth, made of seven pieces of cloth which cover his genitals. He is provided with certain objects associated with a hermit and a hunter, and, conceptually, he is thought to go off to live in the forest for hunting, i. Coming out of the house the initiand will proceed to the local Ganesh temple. Here the boy is expected to run off. However, when he thus symbolically tries to go off to the forest, his maternal uncle will stop him, put a cap on his head, and thrust some money into his hands.
The cap and the money represent normal domestic life. Occasionally the initiand, the kyeta puja yamha, as a joke, will be kidnapped at the Ganesh Than by some of the spectators. Seeing the preparations for the Kyetapuja being made, some people may go to the Ganesh Than to create a crowded and confused scene there, making it easy to whisk away the initiand, the kyeta puja yamha. He will then be kept hidden during a couple of hours, while his maternal uncle anxiously searches for him.
Eventually the initiand is released. The feast will be a common paha yaye, i. The details of the contents are not prescribed. Also at the Baratayegu, pre-menstrual, or first menstrual, twelve day seclusion, of his niece, the maternal uncle provides for the girl who is secluded. Indeed, the practice seems to be general, as the maternal uncles do likewise among the Jyapu in Sunakothi and among the Uray of Kathmandu.
The maternal uncle also has ritual obligations to his nephews and nieces at marriages. This meal is known as Paju ja na wanegu, i.
Among the Jyapu of Sunakothi, in the Nyapakhu form of marriage which is the most expensive, the bride goes to have dinner at the houses of different relatives from the day the lakha breads have been delivered. The gifts from the maternal uncles, known as pajukhu lit.
In the Nyapakhu, the most expensive and elaborate form of marital rites, the maternal uncle of the groom brings pajukhu containing five pathi of baji, five pathi of pure white thon, two mana of various beans, hila, pala, thirty wa, waca, and one pau g of palu. At the Nipakhu, there will be only two pathi of baji and two pathi of thon. There it is used for a feast. Her in-laws, for their part, give money, generally between five and one hundred rupees, to the newly weds.
The nayakuli, the durukuli, and the wa are placed in the house. They are eaten later, and there seem to be no firm rules regarding who may take part in it. When the sajipaju and his party arrive, the food gift is delivered; then he and his party are offered a feast meal. They do not stay long.