henogamy

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henogamy

the custom by which one, and only one, member of a family is permitted to marry. The classic example is that of the patrilineal Nambudiri Brahmans of Malabar in Tamil Nadu, India; among them, only eldest sons were permitted to marry Nambudiri women and have legitimate children. The custom is concerned with the need to keep property intact and to limit the number of legitimate heirs, but it is also buttressed by religious teachings and belief in reincarnation.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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