Xoraxané Romá - Marriage and Family



Marriage. The norm requires a preliminary agreement between the families of both parties plus the payment of bride-wealth (either in cash or in gold). A promise of marriage can be made while the future bride and bridegroom are still children. Elopement is an accepted possibility for a couple who wish to go against their parents' wishes. The incest taboo stretches as far as first cousins and includes the following affinal relationships: daughter-in-law/father-in-law, son-in-law/mother-in-law, bride's father/bridegroom's mother, bride's mother/bridegroom's father, maternal uncle/nephew's wife. The bilateral kindred as previously described is, in theory, an exogamous group, though one can note Several exceptions to the rule. The exogamy, again in theory, concerns all the members of Ego's kindred in relation to all the members of the kindred of Ego's godfather. The postmarital residence is generally virilocal, with some cases of neolocality. Divorce is possible and is ideologically accepted. Polygyny is practiced (in this case the first wife has a predominant role), though monogamy is much more common.

Domestic Unit. As well as bilateral kindred, the term familja also denotes the extended family and the nuclear family. The expression barî familja (i.e., "big familja") can refer to a group containing all the descendants of a living person, or to a group of coresidents made up of one or more nuclear families. One must distinguish, therefore, between a barí familja of descendance, following cognatic lines, and a barí familja of residence, made up from rules following virilocality. In the development of the domestic cycle, the virilocality is not permanent: a married son will usually leave his father's family when another brother gets married and replaces him in the paternal home (house or caravan). The father's family, however, remains a point of reference and of solidarity. Another type of "great" family is made up from the polygynous family; here the dyads of mother/children assume great importance, seeing that the cowives have separate homes and can even live in different towns. Each cowife with her children forms an autonomous residential unit, and the husband divides his time between one unit and another.


Inheritance. The norm, which is not always followed, is that the youngest married son should inherit everything. This rule of ultimogeniture is in keeping with the chain development of the virilocality: the last son to marry and who lives with his father becomes, at the death of the latter, head of the household and must look after his widowed mother and any young unmarried siblings.


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