Maguindanao - Marriage and Family

Marriage. Monogamous marriages are the norm among the Maguindanao. Polygyny is permitted by Islamic law and local tradition, and continues to be practiced by some persons of wealth and high rank. Young people raised in the same extended household or village are considered to be too closely related—regardless of blood connection—to be married to one another. This creates local exogamy at this level. There is a strong preference, however, for marriage between related families, especially marriage of second cousins, so there is a marked tendency toward kindred endogamy. There are even some marriages between first cousins, although these are rare and are forbidden by customary law. After marriage the couple usually reside in the husband's community. Today the couple may form an independent household, whereas in the past they more often joined the man's parents in an extended household. Divorce can and does occur, especially early in a marriage. It is usually because of infertility, incompatibility, infidelity, or failure of the bride's relatives to pay an agreed bride-wealth. The marriage bond is generally strong after the birth of a child.

Domestic Unit. Households may be comprised of nuclear or extended families, the latter being more common. Even nuclear families in separate houses live immediately adjacent to relatives and share many activities with them. Extended families or multiple families living under one roof may have separate cooking hearths but often share food and socialize in ways that blur distinctions between them. In all of these cases a comparison could be made to a longhouse, or a longhouse that has been broken up into proximate living units.

Inheritance. Males and females generally inherit equally in this society. A limited exception is that among the upper class, titles and an added share of wealth are often passed on to the first-born son.

Socialization. Children are cared for and disciplined not only by their parents but by other adult members of the household. Older siblings are often assigned responsibility to care for and play with the young. When children are outside the house, any adult member of the community may gently correct or chide them, and young people are taught to address their elders by terms that mean aunt/uncle or grandparent, even if they are not related. Formal education has become common for children from families of wealth and high status. In rural areas and among ordinary people, the government-operated schools are still mistrusted as a source of disruptive outside influence. Boys may attend school for the first few grades to learn reading, writing, and simple arithmetic before being withdrawn by their parents. Many girls do not receive any formal schooling at all.

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