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In some countries, the practice is common, while in others it is uncommon though legal.In some societies, it is seen as incestuous and is legally prohibited, for example in China and Taiwan, North Korea, South Korea, the Philippines and 24 of the 50 United States.Though the practice was common in earlier times, and continues to be common in some societies today, such marriages are prohibited in some jurisdictions.
In the ancient system of the Erya dating from around the third century BC, the words for the two types of cross cousins were identical, with father's brother's children and mother's sister's children both being distinct.
Various religions have ranged from prohibiting up to sixth cousins from marrying, to freely allowing first cousin marriage.
Cousin marriage is an important topic in anthropology and alliance theory.
When the marriage procession progressed with the bride toward the house of the bridegroom, the male cousin rushed forward, snatched away the girl, and forced her into his own house. The Syrian city of Aleppo during the 19th century featured a rate of cousin marriage among the elite of 24% according to one estimate, a figure that masked widespread variation: some leading families had none or only one cousin marriage, while others had rates approaching 70%.
Cousin marriage rates were highest among women, In Egypt, estimates from the late 19th and early 20th centuries state variously that either 80% of fellahin married first cousins or two-thirds married them if they existed.