Javanese - Marriage and Family



Marriage. Individuals usually choose their own spouses, although parents sometimes arrange marriages. Marriage is prohibited between members of the nuclear family, half siblings, and second cousins. Several types of marriage are disapproved of but people can avoid the supernatural sanctions associated with them by performing protective rituals. The idea of preferred marriages is not widely known.

Marriage formalities include a gift to the bride's parents from the groom's relatives, a meeting of the bride's relatives at her house the night before the ceremony, civil and religious ceremonies and transactions, and a ceremonial meeting of the couple. Divorce is common and is accomplished according to Muslim law.

Most marriages are monogamous. Polygyny is practiced only among the urban lower class, orthodox high-ranking prijaji, and the nobility.

There is no fixed postmarital residence rule, although the ideal is neolocal. Uxorilocal residence is common in southern Central Java Province. High-ranking prijaji and the nobility tend toward residence in either of the parents' homes. Urban prijaji are neolocal.

Domestic Unit. The Javanese term for "household" is somah. Peasants and the average urban prijaji live in monogamous nuclear-family households with an average population of five to six. High-ranking prijaji and the nobility have polygynous uterolocal extended families and are larger.

Inheritance. Dwellings and their surrounding garden land are inherited by a married daughter or granddaughter after a period of coresidence. Fruit trees, domestic animals, and cultivable land are inherited equally by all the children, while heirlooms are usually inherited by a son.

Socialization. Children are treated indulgently until the age of two to four when inculcation and discipline begin. The most common methods of discipline are snarling, corporal punishment, comparison to siblings and others, and threat of external disapproval and sanctions. The latter type of discipline encourages children to be fearful and shy around strangers. Mothers are the primary socializing agents, as well as sources of affection and support, while fathers are more distant. Older siblings often take care of young children. First menstruation for girls is marked simply by a slametan, or communal meal, while for boys circumcision, occurring between the ages of 6 and 12, is an important and dramatic event.


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