Starostina O. Some Contemporary Wedding Rites of the Mastchoh Tajiks

Olga Starostina
The Russian Museum of Ethnography
Saint-Petersburg, Russian Federation
E-mail: starostinaov73@mail.ru

 

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ABSTRACT. The modern marriage rites of the Mastchoh Tajiks are an almost unexplored topic in ethnographic studies devoted to the traditional culture of the Tajik people. This article is based on the author’s field materials obtained during her expedition to the western, mountainous part of the Sughd Region of the Republic of Tajikistan, the Lower and Middle Mastchoh Districts. Wedding is one of the most important rites of the life cycle, the purpose of which is not only social and sacred fixation of the new status of girls and boys, as well as their family members, but also accumulation of the material base, which later becomes a significant part of their shared economy. Despite the introduction of laws restricting the costs of wedding celebrations in the legislation of the Republic of Tajikistan and an outright ban on the conduct of certain ceremonies significant for traditional culture, these ceremonies continue to exist and are perceived by the local population as mandatory. A synchronic and diachronic analysis of the marriage rites of the Tajiks has revealed that it is the Mastchins who preserve the most complete structure of wedding ritual actions. The disappearance of some important for the Tajik traditional culture rites, such as, for example, the torchlight procession in front of the wedding train or the three-fold circling of the young wife in the circle of fire in the house of the newlywed, is probably due to the peculiarities of historical development and appears to be natural. One can also observe a reduction in the time frame required for performing the rites of passage, as well as a significant simplification of some rituals.

 

KEYWORDS: Tajiks, Mountain Mastchoh, wedding ceremony, dowry, kalym, divorce

 

DOI 10.31250/2618-8619-2021-4(14)-153-167

УДК 392.51(=222.8)

 

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