Lamaholot - Marriage and the Family

Marriage. Where the parties to the marriage are Catholic or Muslim, the appropriate ceremony of these religions is used. For most of the area, at least some form of asymmetric marriage alliance, involving the exchange of alliance prestations, was formerly practiced. There is great regional variation in how the alliances work and in whether or not the prestations are actually given. Catholicism generally blocks marriage between the mother's brother's daughter and the father's sister's son. Wife-giving affines are superior to wife-taking affines. The close relatives of the mother control the well-being of her children and are deemed divine by them. Alliance gifts include elephant tusks for wife givers and fine ikat (tie-dyed) cloths given in return to wife takers. In some places building material and cash have replaced tusks, which now are rare. Where alliance exchanges have taken place, the couple lives in the home of the husband's parents or establishes a new residence. Where no exchange has taken place, the first years of marriage are spent with the wife's family. Divorce is easily arranged, except for Catholics.

Domestic Unit. Households include husband, wife, children, younger brothers or cousins, elderly parents, and other dependents.

Inheritance. Homes, wealth, and alliance obligations are transmitted according to the local rule of descent, usually patrilineal. There is some variation concerning whether only the oldest brother inherits.

Socialization. Parents and the extended network of close kin care for children. Children go through the rites of passage appropriate to their religion. Prior to the twentieth century education was available only in Larantuka, Flores. Since the 1920s, educational opportunities have expanded. Elementary education is now available to all. Junior and senior high schools and Islamic teacher-training schools are located in the regency. Some go on to higher education elsewhere in Indonesia.

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