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Birth of a child

    The occasion of the birth of either a male or a female child was marked with much music and singing.  The women folk attended the mother for seven nights and sang sipatt or nazink , literally meaning songs of praise.   Food and sweets were prepared and distributed.  The birth of a boy was greeted with greater rejoicing than the birth of a girl.  Among some tribes no ceremonies were performed on the birth of a girl, while among other tribes usual ceremonies were performed from birth to death.  They included birth, sasigan (selecting name on sixth day), burruk (circumcision), padgami (child's beginning to walk) and salwar (wearing of trousers) etc.


    Marriages which generally took place after puberty were performed with ceremonies which included music, dancing and distribution of food.  The girl was usually a few years junior to the boy.  Marriage was arranged to a closely knit family.  Expenses of food prepared on either side was borne by the bridegroom.   To meet the expenses and amount of labb, bride price, relatives of the bridegroom collected bijjari, subscriptions from friends and relative.   Traditionally, everyone who was asked gave according to his means.  Sheeps, cows, goats or camels were also presented as bijjar.  Relatives of the bride also collected bijjar called giwari on the marriage evening.

    The general characteristics of a wedding included negotiations by parents and other relatives.  All details were agreed upon and the wedding was formalized later on.  Labb was fixed before hand.  Sang or harbarsindi, betrothal, was the first step.  The expenses, pardach, was incurred by the bridegroom.  Pardach was paid in cash and kind before by the marriage date.   It also included embroidered clothes and other essential articles for the bride.

    Sang was almost as absolute as the marriage itself.   After engagement, the parents of the girl were bound to give the hand of the lady to the person to whom she was betrothed.  There was no backing-out from either side save in exceptional circumstances.  Only in rare cases, could the man forego his fiancée, distar.

    Sahbadal or system of exchange of girls between families without stipulations paid was also prevalent.  Sometimes conditions were made that a daughter born of a marriage would be given to relations of bride's parents.  However, if there was a marked difference in the ages or personal attractions of would-be-bride and bridegroom, it would then be compensated in money by either side.  Betrothal in childhood among close relatives was also common.

    The date of marriage was usually announced well in advance and all the relatives and friends were duly informed.  In former times, the invitation for participation was sent to the entire clan which then selected the individuals for taking part in the ceremonies on their behalf.  However, at a much latter stage, the invitations were sent to individuals and family heads.  The persons sent for inviting the people, Lotuki, included singers and dancers who started singing and dancing before entering a village.  The party would then be feasted by the village headman before their return.

    A few days before the event, a kapar or a large wooden tent was built, a few yards from the home of the bridegroom.  In coastal areas this temporary tent was called mangeer where more than on marriage ceremonies were performed.  This was built for the occasion by the people under supervision of the village headman.   All ceremonies including dancing and singing were performed there.  This would also serve as a guest house for visitors from the nearby villages.  Among peculiar customs, korag, was most prominent.  The bridegroom was taken a few furlongs outside the settlement, as the word connotes, most probably to the riverside, in the evening, where arrangements were made for his bath and make-up.   He would then mount no horseback or camel and was brought to diwanjah or mangeer amid much singing and dancing.

    Another peculiar custom was that a week before the marriage, the girl was secluded from the rest of the family.  Only the closest female relatives and friends could visit her.  During this period she was also briefed regarding her duties and responsibilities after marriage

    After sun-set the bridegroom profusely arrayed, accompanied by close friends and relatives moved to the bride's house where proper arrangements were made.  Formal wedding was performed after the guests were feasted..