Toraja - Marriage and Family

Marriage. Today Toraja marriages are monogamous, although in the past polygyny was sometimes practiced by the aristocracy. Some marriages continue to be arranged by the parents; however, most contemporary Toraja select their own mates. Marriage with first and second cousins is prohibited (although in previous times one could circumvent this taboo through ritual offerings). In certain regions the nobility were the exception to this rule, often marrying first cousins to keep wealth within the immediate family. Residence is ideally neolocal, but many couples reside initially with either the husband's or the wife's family. Divorce is frequent, and divorce compensations are determined prior to marriage (to be paid by the divorcing party). There are no prohibitions on remarriage.

Domestic Unit. The people who cook and share meals around a hearth are considered the most basic family unit. The average size of this household group is five persons, although grandchildren, cousins, aunts, etc. are frequent overnight visitors. As a household member, one is expected to share in the tasks of everyday living—cooking, cleaning, farming, or contributing part of one's wages to the family.

Inheritance. One's surviving children and grandchildren have the right to inherit property. To claim such rights one must sacrifice water buffalo at the funeral of the deceased.

Socialization. Children are reared both by parents and by siblings. Adoption is common: family ties are extended and strengthened by adopting infants out to relatives and friends. Often children will move back and forth between the households of their adoptive and biological parents. Emphasis is placed on respect for one's elders, diligence, and the importance of the family over one's individual needs.

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