The role of pre-marriage rituals in Kazakh society: matchmaking ceremonies and social stratification in Kerbulaq region
(Social anthropology and cultural studies)
Kazakhs are known for practicing exogamous marriages. One central aspect in this type of marriage system is that it demonstrates the importance of affinal relationship. Before the socialist period, most marriages were by matchmaking, where the decision on whom to marry was predominantly made by parents. During the Soviet Union and nowadays, parental influence in the selection process has decreased. But despite that the matchmaking ceremony, called "qudalyq" in Kazakh, remains an important part of the whole marriage process and has even increased, as it is also a means to express the social status and economic standing of the families involved. Generally, "qudalyq" can be considered as the beginning of an affinal relationship, which starts from the meeting of close kins from the bride and groom's sides. In this paper, I attempt to show the changes in social organization and the simultaneous stratification by examining the selection of delegates to the "qudalyq" and thereby also looking closer at the ceremony itself.
Economic and social transformations in Kazakstan: The case of Zheti-Suw