It is a common thing for an average man to marry two or more wives almost anywhere in the world. It is a practice that is well embedded in many culture and religions. However, most societies frown at a woman having more than one husband at any given time. This practice is referred to as polyandry.
In places like Nepal, the Tibetans are known for the practice of fraternal polyandry. Also some tribes in China and India, there is a practice that permits two or more brothers to be married to same wife, and the wife enjoys equal “sexual access” to them.
Below are five countries in which some of the tribes practice polyandry:
Although largely uncommon in Nigeria, there are tribes in Nigeria that also allows polyandry. Among the Irigwe of Northern Nigeria, women have traditionally acquired numerous spouses called “co-husbands”. The Irigwe people of Nigeria practiced a woman having co-husbands until their council voted to outlaw it in 1968. Until then, women moved from house to house, taking on multiple spouses, and the children’s paternity was assigned to the husband whose house the woman lived in at the time.
India as a country has more than one tribe practicing polyandry. Polyandry is prevalent in parts of North India by Paharis in the Jaunsarbawar region while in Kinnaur, Himachal a minority of the people justify and practice Polyandry. As descendants of the Pachi Pandavas (five brothers who were husbands to a woman named Draupadi daughter of King Panchala), they believe they have to carry on the tradition.
Asides them, the Toda tribe of Nilgris, Najanad Vellala of Travancore and some Nair caste Sytems in South India also practice polyandry.
A survey of 753 Tibetan families by Tibet University in 1988 found that 13% practiced polyandry.
In August 2013, Kenyan witness polyandry when two men decided to be husbands to a woman they both love. It is noteworthy that Kenyan laws don’t explicitly forbid Polyandry and legal action can’t be taken against people who practice it. There have also been reported cases of polyandry among the Massai people of Kenyan.
The practice of fraternal polyandry is common among the people Tibet in the Nepal parts of China and India. It is based on the belief that a child can have more than one father and usually when two or more brothers marry one woman, they all have equal sexual access to her.
The practice is encouraged if the family is poor and can’t divide their properties amongst the offsprings of separate fathers. So they keep their small farmlands and properties big by getting married to the same woman.
Polyandry also existed among tribes in South America as the Bororo practiced polyandry while up to 70 percent of Amazonian cultures may have believed in the principle of multiple paternity. “The Tupi-Kawahib also practice fraternal polyandry.