About Mizoram -> Custom
Although Christianity brought about a near - total
transformation in the Mizo lifestyle and outlook some customary
laws have stayed on. The efforts of the Missionaries, so it
seems, were not directed at changing the basic customs of the
Mizo society presumably because they saw nothing much wrong with
them. The customs and traditions which they found meaningless
and harmful were abolished by persistent preaching. Thus tea
replaced ZU as a popular drink among the Mizos. Zawlbuk had been
replaced by modern education. Animal sacrifices on ceremonial
occasions, which were once an integral part of mizo religious
system, are now considered anathema. But such traditions as the
payment of bride price are still continued and encouragement so
are some other customs and community traditions.
The Mizos are not alone in putting a price on a bride. This
custom is a prevalent in a few other Indian Communities as well.
When a Mizo boy approaches his fiancee's parents for permission
to get married, the first thing he has to do is to settle the
bride price. If the price among other things, demanded by him,
is acceptable to the parents, the boy and the girl are allowed
to get married. Thus the settlement of the bride price to be
paid by the bridegroom is an essential pre-requisite to a Mizo
It so generally happens that part of the bride price which may
be paid on the eve of the wedding, while the part of bride price
called 'Thutphah' is held back over the years as a sort of
security of paying off the debts fall on the next generation. In
case of the death of a husband, his son is obliged to pay the
The principal bride price is known as Manpui the rate which is
(mentioned in terms of mithun or sial) Rs 80/- per unit.
Besides, there are subsidiary bride prices like sumhmahruai
(rate Rs 20/-) and sumfang (Rate Rs 8/-) These prices are to be
paid to the bride's father or brother. Pusum, the rate of which
varies from rs 4/- to Rs 10/- is payable to the nearest relation
on the side of the bride's mother who most often than not turns
out to be the maternal uncle of the bride. An equivalent amount,
known as Ni-ar, is paid to the bride's paternal aunt as well.
The elder sister or sisters of the bride are entitled to Naupuakpuan, which is the price received by them for having
given the bride their clothes to wear or taken of the bride in
her childhood. In the event of the bride being the eldest
daughter take or an only child, this price is received by other
female relations. A sum also goes to the Palal who acts as the
bride's foster father and takes on the responsibility of
safeguarding her interests throughout her married life. The
bride's maid also get a price known as thianman. There are some
optional payments as well. Taken together, the bride price adds
up to a considerable figure which is often impossible for the
bridegroom to pay at one time.
However, it would be a mistake to continue bride price with sale
or dowry. For all those who get a share of it come under a
special obligation to look after the welfare and interest of the
A mizo marriage is proceeded by courtship and engagement. The
boy and girl are allowed to mix freely during the engagement
period. But an engagement may be broken off midway through if
the couple fails who get on with each other.
As the majority of the Mizos are now Christians, marriages are
solemnized in Church. Both bride and the bridegroom wear wedding
dresses in the latest Western Style But sometimes the bride is
also decked in puanchei, a traditional Mizo costume, and white
The bride bring along to her husband a traditional rug called Puandum in which his body is to be wrapped during burial. This
is an integral part of the Mizo marriage and failure to bring
the cloth entails punishment leading to a reduction in the bride
There are other types of marriage as well. In the Makpa
chhungkhung type of wedding the bridegroom does not pay bride
price but goes to his wife's house to live her. This type of
marriage happens in families where there are no male heirs.
Consequently, it becomes the duty of the son-in-law to care for
his wife's parents.
Another type of Mizo marriage, as Luhkhung, is performed without
a social ceremony. If a girl becomes pregnant, she start living
quietly with the boy responsible for her condition in his house.
However, the marriage of a pregnant girl is sometimes performed
in the Vestry instead of the main Hall of a Church. Tlandun is
yet another kind of marriage in which a couple runs away from
home to get married.
The mizos being patriarchal, property is inherited by men rather
than women. The family property usually goes to the youngest son
although the father may leave shares to other sons, if he
desires. If a man has no sons, his property is inherited by the
next kin on the male side.
If a man dies leaving a widow and minor children, a male
relation (who usually happens to be a brother of the deceased)
takes charge of the family and looks after the property until
one of the sons comes of age. If no such male relative is
around, then the widow acts as a trustee of her husband's
property until such times as his son or sons are old enough to
However, although the youngest son of the family is the natural
or formal heir to his father under the Mizo customary laws, in
actuality the paternal property is generally divided among all
sons. The youngest of them gets a preferential treatment in that
he would get the first choice of the articles, and he would get
two share of the cash in case of one each for the other
A daughter or a wife can inherit property only if the deceased
has no heir on the male side. Women, however, are entitled to
their own property. The drowry, called thuam, she gets during
the marriage from her parents is exclusively her own property.
However, a written 'will' formally executed may now confer woman
the right to inherit the family property. This is a happy
amendment to the traditional customary laws.