Marriage in Tribal Societies

Marriage in tribal societies is a fascinating topic in sociological studies of society. Mate selection in Tribals is done by various methods as enumerated in this article.


  1. According to Gillin and Gillin: Marriage is a socially approved way of establishing a family of procreation.
  2. According to Malinowski: Marriage is a contract for the production and maintenance of children.
  3. According to the Hindu Way of life: Marriage is a sacrament to fulfill the duties of Grihastha Dharma.

Characteristics of Marriage:

  1. Universality
  2. Relationship between man and woman
  3. The marriage bond is enduring
  4. Requires Social Approval
  5. Associated with a civil or religious ceremony
  6. Marriage creates mutual obligations

Marriage in Tribal Societies: Types of Mate Selection-

1. Purchase and Service:

Regma-Naga, Ho, Gond

*Exchange of Girls

2. Youth Dormitory:

Marriage by mutual consent with parents’ approval or elopement

3. Selection by Capture:

Naga, Ho (Pre-arranged), Bhil, Gond

*Leads to female infanticide in Nagas

* In Gond- Often at the instance of the bride’s parents

4. Selection by Trial:

Present in Bhils

5. Marriage by Intrusion:

Girls desirous of marrying an unwilling male thrust themselves on the bridegroom, and bear all humiliations and harsh treatments till the man yields.

6. Probationary Marriage:

Kuki tribe

Permits Young men and women to live together for some weeks and then decide whether to get married or not.

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