Tagalog - Marriage and Family

Marriage. Marriage (kasal) generally follows the proscriptions of the Roman Catholic church, but cousin marriages of all degrees occur. The degree permitted or encouraged varies from area to area and from family to family; however, there is frequently pressure to marry within the third degree and if possible within the local group. Divorce ( diborsiyo ) has not been legal for centuries, but separation ( hiwalay ) occurs.

Domestic Unit. In rural areas, where dwelling space is less limited, the preferred pattern is for each nuclear family to have a separate dwelling as soon as possible. Normally one child and spouse remain in the parental home, but as population pressure increases multiple households are increasingly becoming the rule. Parents share household chores and care of children. As children are able, they take over many household duties including care of their younger siblings and cooking. Frequently, the wife begins to engage in more intense economic activities. There are usually three or more generations present in the household, but in most cases only one or two nuclear families with young children.

Inheritance. The root term for inheritance is mana. Personal property is inherited equally by siblings. Houses usually become the property of the child who has remained to care for the parents. Rights to tenancies or ownership of land can either descend in a strictly bilateral fashion leading to segmentation of holdings of sibling groups over the generations, or be maintained by naming one sibling steward, with all having a share in the land's output dependent upon input.

Socialization. Young children are cared for by members of the household, extended family, and neighbors in general ( mga kapitbahay or paligid ). Probably one of the more crucial experiences a Tagalog undergoes comes upon assuming responsibility for a younger sibling, cousin, or other relative. The residential and extended family group is the nurturing environment, and provides opportunities for the building of much utang na loob.

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