The husband/wife relationship was not considered sacred, and each was free to leave by choice.The wife was free to have another husband.
The Matriarchal Marriage
The typical Nair marriage ceremony, called sambandam, was simple. The bridegroom would give a piece of cloth, mundu, to the bride in front of a lamp in the presence of the seniormost lady of the family. The husband would spend a few days at the bride's house and then return to his own tarawad. This marriage was based on mutual consent and was dissoluble at will. Frivolous divorces were said to be rare, discouraged by public opinion and by the karanavan.
The husband/wife relationship was not considered sacred, and each was free to leave by choice.The wife was free to have another husband. We in the 20th century feel disturbed about the fact that a woman can have as many husbands as she wills, but what is moral or immoral is purely subjective. This system gave a chance for the lower castes to get high-class progeny, and existed for the past 1,000 to 1,500 years.
Clearly, the big, bustling joint-family atmosphere was one of matriarchy's basic attractions. Children learned a simple life. When someone fell sick, the entire family was at their side. Elders in these matriarchal families took care of the children irrespective of whose children they were, and children in turn cared for them in their old age. Irrespective of whether one was married or not, whether they had children of their own or not, everyone took care of the young and old, There was a tremendous feeling of oneness
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Last Updated: December 11, 1998