Tibetan Marriage Customs Essay

A Tibetan marriage custom of fraternal polyandry, or sharing a wife with brothers, has a simple practical explanation. Due to severe environmental conditions in the high mountain region of Tibet, people follow the economic benefits to survive and live better than in monogamy. When all brothers marry one woman, they form a single household with one set of heirs. Under the eldest brother’s authority, they work together with higher productivity and income that prevents younger brothers from leaving the big family. Later all children from this marriage inherit this household with all maintained lands and animals. All brothers can found separate families, but it is harder and less effective from the economic point of view.

Mosuo matriarchal families and Tibetan polyandrous families have similar features. In both cases, a woman can have more than one sexual partner and her children are common for the family that lives together and works together for the welfare of the entire household. However, Mosuo families consist of women and children without husbands and fathers. Mosuo women are free in their choice, but they must work hard to get money, food, and other goods for the entire family. Women in Tibetan polyandrous families do not have many rights, but all husbands work for the welfare of one woman and her children. Tibetan women after marriage live in conditions of fewer responsibilities and pressure that Mosuo women. However, both types of women are frequently happy to live following their customs.

Children are growing in one big family in both described Mosuo and Tibetan traditions. It does not matter whether they know their fathers because all children have equal conditions for development. A significant difference is that Tibetan children can live with several fathers while Mosuo children do not have any. Further, the future of heirs in Tibet would be more affluent if they continued the custom of fraternal polyandry. Mosuo children ought to help their mothers and grandmothers as the tradition says. Young men in Mosuo families like their current small responsibilities in the world of women. However, many Mosuo girls want to change their lives and escape such kind of matriarchy. In this regard, Tibetan families appear happier for children.

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