Arranged marriages were very common throughout the world until the 18th century. Typically, marriages everywhere were arranged by parents, grandparents or other relatives. Some historical exceptions are known, such as courtship and betrothal rituals during Renaissance period of Italy and Gandharva marriages in Vedic period of India. In China, arranged marriages (baoban hunyin, 包辦婚姻) - sometimes called blind marriages (manghun, 盲婚) - were the norm before mid 20th century. A marriage was a negotiation and decision between parents and other older members of two families. The boy and girl, were typically told to get married, without a right to consent, even if they had never met with each other until the wedding day.
Arranged marriages were the norm in Russia before early 20th century, most of which were endogamous.
Until the first half of the 20th century, arranged marriages were common in migrant families in the United States. They were sometimes called picture-bride marriages among Japanese American immigrants because the bride and groom knew each other only through the exchange of photographs before the day of their marriage. These marriages among immigrants were typically arranged by parents, or relatives from the country of their origin. As immigrants settled in and melted into a new culture, arranged marriages shifted first to quasi-arranged marriages where parents or friends made introductions and the couple met before the marriage; over time, the marriages among the descendants of these immigrants shifted to autonomous marriages driven by individual's choice, dating and courtship preferences, along with an increase in interracial marriages. Similar historical dynamics are claimed in other parts of the world.
Arranged marriages have declined in prosperous countries with social mobility, ascendancy of individualism and nuclear family; nevertheless, arranged marriages remain visible in countries of Europe and North America, among royal families, aristocrats and minority religious groups such as in placement marriage among Fundamentalist Mormon groups of the United States. In most other parts of the world, arranged marriages continue to varying degrees and increasingly in quasi-arranged form, along with autonomous marriages.
The Ambitious Mother and the Obliging Clergyman - a cartoon by Charles Dana Gibson against arranged marriages in early 20th century United States, where a parent insisted their daughter marry men on grounds of their wealth or aristocratic title, without consideration to the girl's choice. The clergyman is caricatured officiating the marriage with a blindfold. Marriages have been categorized into four groups in scholarly studies:
parents or guardians select, the individuals are neither consulted nor have any say before the marriage (forced arranged marriage) parents or guardians select, then the individuals are consulted, who consider and consent, and each individual has the power to refuse; sometimes, the individuals meet - in family setting or privately - before engagement and marriage as in shidduch custom among Orthodox Jews individuals select, then parents or guardians are consulted, who consider and consent, and parents have the power to refuse individuals select, the parents or guardians are neither consulted nor have any say before the marriage (autonomous marriage) Gary Lee and Lorene Stone suggest that most adult marriages in recent modern history, are some gradation between extreme example of either ideal arranged or ideal autonomous marriage, in part because marriage is a social institution. Similarly, Broude and Greene, after studying 142 cultures worldwide, have reported that 130 cultures have elements of arranged marriage.
Extreme examples of forced arranged marriage have been observed in some societies, particularly in child marriages of girls below age 12. Illustrations include vani...
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