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Kalyn mal – ransom for the bride

05 September 2016
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 Kalyn mal – ransom for the bride
The custom was persecuted by the law in Soviet times.

By definition pf some researchers, the bride price in fact was not ransom, but compensation of expenses expended on girl’s marriage. The parents spent a lot of money on performing of various ritual ceremonies, dowry, wedding expenses and others. The ransom compensates it. 

 Lev Balluseck (1822-1899) gives very interesting information in his work ‘Special aspects of marriage of Kazakh people’. 

 Kalyn mal, the cattle for bride consists of the following parts: 

 1.Valuable ‘heads’ are the most valuable of the necessities for daily life on the farm: a) weapon; b) chain armor; c) horse d) camel. The price of each head was equal to five heads of cattle. People who were not able to pay it, paid 20 heads of cattle in return. Subsequently, valuable ‘heads’ were replaced by household furniture and other things. 

2. Cattle. That was the main part of the dowry. It was paid depending on income.

 3. Ulu. A groom paid that part when he arrived in the village for the first time — from 30 to 80 horses. 

 4. Wedding cattle — cattle on wedding costs. Its amount corresponded to the amount of dowry and was from 20 to 70 heads. In addition, the groom provided the bride’s parents with felt for the yurta. 

 5. Dairy payout. It did not exceed two camels. That also included the most expensive fur coat and a saddle.  Of course, the described form of dowry was only for the rich people and there were other forms of amount for poor Kazakhs, corresponding to their status. 

 The total amount of kalym was divided: 100-150 heads of cattle for wealth feudal aristocracy; 74-100 heads for people of average income; 20-40 heads of cattle for the poor; 10 heads for beggars.

 Interesting thoughts were shared by a scholar G.Akpanbekov. He said that Kalyn mal is just honor given to the bride and her mother. As 47 is not the number of cattle, but ‘seven’ forty times, i.e. forty weeks, 9 months and 9 days (duration of a child’s stay in the womb). So, kalym is in fact, is nothing but a gift to the mother who gave a birth, educated and raised the bride. 


 Used material: 

T.Kuanyshev ‘Kazaktar’ 

Photo: yvision.kz


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