Marriage. Traditionally among the Lunda there has been a slight preference for cross-cousin marriages. Little pressure is exerted, however, and individuals generally enjoy a great deal of latitude in the choice of marriage partners. Many marriages take place across ethnic boundaries. In the past, couples would live uxorilocally for the first few years of marriage, with the husband performing bride-service for his in-laws by assisting with agricultural tasks and village construction. Later the couple would reside patrilocally. Today a wife generally moves to her husband's village immediately upon the completion of an exchange of bride-wealth and the performance of a simple ceremony. Bride-wealth may consist of agricultural commodities, tools, household utensils, clothing, and a small amount of cash. Couples today may also choose to marry in civil ceremonies in town, or in Christian ceremonies in any of the numerous churches in Lunda territory, with or without bride-wealth. The Lunda possess one of the highest rates of divorce noted in the anthropological literature. In the 1950s it was recorded that nearly 66 percent of all marriages ended in divorce. By the 1980s, the divorce rate had dropped to around 33 percent. Polygyny is permitted, but probably less than 1 in 50 men actually has more than one wife at a time.
Domestic Unit. Ideally, each mature adult has his or her own house. Children tend to sleep with their mother when they are very young, with a grandparent in their preteen years, and in single-sex "dormitories" as young adults. Houses are grouped together into distinct villages, the core of which is usually a set of matrilineally related males, ideally uterine brothers and their wives and children. Extended and classificatory kin, as well as friends and visitors, are also present in most villages. In some respects the matricentric bond can be viewed as the basic unit of society. Because divorce and remarriage are frequent, women with their children oscillate between the villages of their matrilineal kin and those of their successive husbands. There is strict division of labor by gender; the labor of children is under the control of the mother. Productive individualism is the norm, but consumption tends to be communal. Households could be defined as those who habitually dine from the same pot.
Inheritance. Titles, positions of leadership, cash, and other precious articles are inherited matrilineally. Individuals are traditionally buried with their few utilitarian personal possessions, such as tools, clothing, and household utensils. Standing crops and domestic stock are consumed by the funeral party.
Socialization. Boys remain under the authority and guidance of their mothers until they have undergone the circumcision rite. Girls remain with their mothers until they marry. Older siblings play an active role in supervising and educating younger siblings. The grandparent-grandchild relationship is extremely close. They are permitted a degree of informality and intimacy denied in other relationships. In theory, at least, a grandparent cannot deny any request made by a grandchild. Traditionally, every adult in a village was said to be responsible for educating and socializing every child in the village. Today, however, public schools and churches play an increasingly important role in shaping the ideas and ideals of the youth.