Ambonese - Marriage and Family



Marriage. Polygynous marriage has been known in Alifuru society, but today monogamy is practiced not only universally among Christians but also, with very few exceptions, among Muslims. Arranged marriages still occur, but usually the youngsters choose their own partners. There are two basic types of marriage: (1) by formal request of the groom's family ( kawin masuk minia ), and (2) by elopement ( kawin lari ). The former is considered more honorable and is more common among the relatively prosperous exiles, while the latter is overwhelmingly practiced in the Moluccas because of disagreements with the parents over the choice of partner and/or to avoid the high expenses of a formal wedding. Kawin manua is a form of marriage in which the groom enters the clan of his wife, either to assure her clan's continuity or because of an inability to pay the bride-wealth. The conjugal ties are extremely strong and usually the newlyweds establish their own household shortly after being married. Residence is commonly patrilocal. Divorce is rare.

Domestic Unit. The nuclear family, averaging about ten persons, is the minimal unit, with aging grandparents, grandchildren, single aunts and uncles, cousins, and foster children added on. Membership in the household requires sharing of the workload.

Inheritance. Property is inherited by the surviving sons. Unmarried daughters continue to "eat off the land" belonging to their natal families.

Socialization. Infants and small children are raised by parents and older siblings, as well as by other household members. Upbringing is strongly authoritarian and physical punishment is common after a child grows beyond the toddler stage. Emphasis is placed on filial piety, family allegiance, and respect for elder people. Collectivism is valued above individualism.


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