Did People Always Live in Families?
May 15, 2023 is International day of families. The day provides an opportunity to promote awareness of issues relating to families and to increase the knowledge of the social, economic and demographic processes affecting families. Do you know how families began?
A family is a group of two or more persons related by birth, marriage, or adoption who live together.
No one knows how the first family started. Excavations in ancient caves show that men, women, and children lived together in small groups.
It is not certain that the groups separated at first into the units of father, mother, and children that we think of as a family, although the women probably cared for their own children. The "family" kept warm with fire and protected themselves against wild animals with simple weapons.
A family kind of life is more necessary among human beings than among other creatures. This is because the most helpless creature on earth is the human baby.
Most insects and other members of the lower forms of life can move about and get their own food as soon as they are hatched. But the young of the higher forms of life_-human infants, baby bears, and other animals must be fed and protected.
The father (human or animal) usually brings the food for the mother and protects the young against enemies. The mother is most important, for she provides the milk for the baby. Thus the family is formed because it is necessary for the young and adults to stay together.
During the hundreds of thousands of years that family life has existed, different forms of family organization have developed among different peoples. In some tribes, the mother's brother was head of the family. The father had little to do with the children.
The pharaohs in ancient Egypt married their sisters. During Biblical times and earlier, a man might have two or more wives. Among some peoples a woman might have several husbands. The marriage of a man or woman to more than one mate is called polygamy.
There are still families in Africa and the Near East with more than one wife, but the practice seems to be dying out.
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