Makassar - Marriage and Family

Marriage. In the rural locations, marriage is still arranged exclusively by the parents and/or close relatives, since according to tradition communication between unmarried young people of different sexes is strictly prohibited. Normatively, social strata are endogamous, and the groom's social rank must be higher than or at least equal to the bride's. Marriage between second cousins is preferred among the commoners, while only nobles are allowed to marry a first cousin. The bride-price is divided into "spending money" ( balanja ), which is used by the bride's family to cover the costs of the wedding feast, and a "rank-price" ( sunrang ), which is given to the bride. Both the balanja and the sunrang reflect the bride's social rank. A weak economic position of the groom's family or normative obstacles to marriage often result in elopement. There is no dominant pattern of postmarital residence. Polygyny is confined to wealthy people, because a separate household must be provided for each wife. Traditionally, divorce could be initiated only by the husband, and was fairly rare. By way of contrast, divorce is now more common, and follows Islamic law.

Domestic Unit. An average household is comprised of a nuclear family as well as close relatives who do not possess a house, in many cases including spouses of adult children. A household is considered a unit consisting of people living and consuming together; the factor of kinship is of secondary importance in this respect.

Inheritance. Sons and daughters inherit equally. If the deceased person has no children, his or her property is given to other consanguineal relatives. In case of divorce, children receive the house and the rank-price once given to the mother.

Socialization. Children are raised by both parents, elder siblings, and other relatives or household members. All adults, elder siblings, and cousins must be respected, and are addressed by honorific terms. Girls over the age of 7 traditionally were forbidden to communicate with male individuals—except for their closest relatives—until they got married. While mobility and bravery are considered important features of male behavior, girls are supposed to occupy balancing positions within the social group. Physical punishment is common.

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