What was the Age of Marriage in Primitive Societies?


The question of age of marriage in primitive societies cannot be answered in terms of universal application. It depends on so many indigenous natural, social and economic conditions. The age of marriage in primitive societies however, is considerably lower as compared to the civilized societies.

One may find boys and girls marrying at the time of puberty or adolescence in most of the primitive societies. The age of marriage is generally formed 10 to 14 for the female and 12 to 18 for the male. Thus it is much below the age of adulthood as prescribed in modern societies. Therefore it can be said that quite a number of tribes practice child marriage.

This however is also not true for a considerable number of other tribes, since the institution of youth dormitories has helped for providing a waiting period to the tribal male and female to learn about married life for years before marriage and after becoming young. In India for example, most of the tribes have the institution of youth dormitories.


The young boys and girls live together in these dormitories and perform various functions together so that they may gradually mature in inter-sexual relationships before actually entering matrimony. In some tribes of Assam for example Naga and Kuki the average age of marriage is from 15 to 20 for the girl and 18 to 25 for the boys. This is not less in comparison with more civilized societies.

In fact this is something which will be appreciated by the latest researches on the subject. Thus it may be concluded as has been said earlier, that there is no universal pattern about the age of marriage in primitive societies. However, child marriages as well as late marriages are rare and generally males and females enter matrimony after attaining youth and gathering some experience.

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