Monday, February 26, 2024


People   ❯    Customs
▪ Child Birth     ▪ Marriage

Child birth

HousesOn the birth of a child the father and his near relatives are first informed. The baby is bathed and an elderly person coveys bank rendering of prayers into the child's ears. The child is named on the same day or on 3rd, 7th or14th  day as well. The head of the baby is shaved on the 40th day and a feast arranged and offerings made at important mosque. The circumcision which is known as Markakalyanag is performed for boys between 6 to12 years, which is the father's responsibility. Except kalpeni the ceremony is arranged at wife's house and the father sends all the articles required. 
In kalpeni the ceremony is held in father's place. The barber does the circumcision. Ear boring for girls which is not an important function is done by women.

The custom on child birth is peculiar in Minicoy. The father sends a small bed and dress for the baby on birth or even earlier. Soon after birth beaten rice and coconuts are sent to the houses of all relatives. When the new born baby is 20 days old its head is shaven. The father meets all expenses and alms are given to the poor.


Marriages between certain castes are not permissible. A higher caste male can marry a woman of higher caste. The issues from the former marriage takes the caste of the father. 
The husband is obliged to make an annual payment towards the upkeep of his wife which is part of the marriage settlement and contract.  There is no social stigma to divorce nor it is a disqualification for a woman to seek fresh alliance. 

On marriage a man goes to his wife's house and takes his wife's family name.A man always sleeps in his wife's house (Vidu), takes tea or Kunjee there in the early morning and then goes to his own house (Pusa). All his meals he takes in his own house. While the man continues to be the bread winner of the family, the entire affairs of the family are managed by the female of the house. This is because of long absence of male members of the family as seamen.

Polygamy is practised in all islands except Minicoy and divorce is granted without much difficulty in uncongenial alliances. A wife can demand divorce on grounds of non-payment of customary due. Adultery provide a ground for divorce. In Minicoy communal punishment for adultery was in vogue. The adulterers both man and woman were given one hundred lashes each and then exposed to public sheerings. They were taken back into society without any reservation after receiving the punishment.