MARRIAGE Made in Heaven, Designed on Earth INTRODUCTION Since premeval times, and among all lands and cultures, whether someone is opinionated with agnostic views or influenced by Christianity and other mainstream religions; whether one treats the female sex as slaves and beasts of burden, or accepts her as entitled to an equal rank with man, companionship between the sexes has ever been found among the most powerful desires of human race and cherished in common by either sex…
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The history of marriage goes back to primitive times when a man and woman lived together out of custom and had offsprings together, the man being the protector of the family and woman being the child bearer and nurse (Westermarck). This paper, Project 1, describes the similarities and differences in the customs related to marriage in Indian, Jewish and Islamic cultures. The selection criteria behind these cultures is the long-established nature of their customs, the marked differences they have with American notion of marriage and the richness of diversity amongst these cultures themselves. The paper is divided into two main sections, the first section describes in brief the various customs practiced in Indian, Jewish and Islamic cultures while the second section dwells upon the key differences and similiarities between marriage traditions between western world and the above chosen cultures. MARRIAGES IN THREE DIFFERENT CULTURES Marriage traditions and customs in Indian culture India is a vast country with many religions, sub-religions and ethnicities. For the sake of this paper, marriages in Indian culture looks at primarily the uniform philosophy behind all Indian traditions. Recorded history of Indian society dates back to third century, which had a number of marriage customs especially, practiced polygamy amongst the ruling kings (Visweswaran). The Indian culture, particularly in Hindus, since ages, has a hierarchic caste system dominating the mate selection process. However, since gaining independence from Britain in 1947, the pluralistic society of India has gained multifaceted progress and contemporary society has started welcoming liberal views on marriage. However, still today, diffusion of Indian culture and values in marriage is intricately interlinked with religious affiliations. Being a collective culture, family plays a huge role in finding a mate for the individual, as arranged marriages are the norm of the society. Searches for partners are done on the basis of religion, caste, physical assets, education, location and economic status of the family. Most of the times, families marry within their own financial status using search channels as print media, websites, family references or professional matchmakers. Usually families meet and approve before the girl and boy see each other. Pre-marital sex is a big taboo and looked down upon. Particularly in rural India, the practice of dowry is prevalent where the father of bride gives money or goods based on his economical status (Dalmia and Lawrence). After the marriage is fixed, the wedding customs and traditions are very elaborate and colorful with a number of song and dance ceremonies and family gatherings. Marriage traditions and customs in Jewish culture The ancient religion of Judaism is more than a religion to Jews; it is the way of life for them. The Jewish doctrine is based on the Ten Commandments in the Old Testament. The Hebrew Bible had provided the foundations for Christianity (British Library). They have a long history of moving places and were expelled from their land of origins in Israel. However, since 1947, over 5 million Jews live in the State of Israel (The Jewish People Policy Planning InstituteThe Jewish People Policy Planning Institute). Due to their history of suffering and anti-Semitism, Jews
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