Alorese - Marriage and Family

Marriage. Today Alorese marriages are monogamous, although in the past polygyny was sometimes practiced. According to DuBois, although parents sometimes play a role in selecting spouses for their children, the Alorese have a clear concept of romantic love and most tend to choose their own mates. Although marriage with first and second cousins is prohibited, DuBois cites occasions where second cousin marriage does occur. Marriages in Alor traditionally involve a series of exchanges between affinal groups. Throughout the island, including urban Kalabahi, men speak of being unable to marry without mokos (bronze drums) to offer the bride's family. DuBois notes that other dowry and bride-price payments include gongs, pigs, rice, and maize. Ideally, residence is patrilocal, although this pattern is not always strictly observed. Today, many younger Kalabahi couples tend to aspire to neolocal residence. According to DuBois, divorce is common; the Alorese villagers she worked with averaged "two divorces apiece."

Domestic Unit. The people who cook and share meals around a hearth are considered the most basic domestic unit. The average size of this household group is five persons. In Atimelang, where DuBois conducted her research, the domestic unit ranged from one to eight persons. As a household member, one is generally expected to share in the tasks of everyday living—cooking, cleaning, farming, or contributing part of one's wages to the family.

Inheritance. Sons inherit their fathers' wealth, although according to DuBois, much of the inheritance may be dissipated in costly death feasts (1945:113).

Socialization. Children are reared by their parents, older siblings, and older adult relatives. DuBois notes that as the women are often away in the fields during the day, children are most frequently in the care of their older siblings or left to fend for themselves. Discipline is minimal: ridicule is most frequently used to discourage misbehavior, although corporal punishment may also be administered. Girls are called upon to work in the fields at an earlier age than boys. Children are not considered full-fledged members of society until they become parents.

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