Yakan - Marriage and Family

Marriage. As Muslims, Yakan men are allowed to have four wives, but polygyny is becoming increasingly rare. Most Yakans have only one wife, although some have two and a very few have three or more. Formerly marriages were arranged by the parents, but now the parents will often consider their children's wishes. The bridegroom and his family must pay a bride-price to the bride, which however is hers only until she has children; then it will be transferred back to them. A greater bride-price is paid to the parents of the bride. All expenses in connection with the wedding are met by the bridegroom's side. It was formerly preferred that the young couple be related, but this is now considered of less importance. Usually the newly married couple will live for some time with the parents of either the bride or the groom; later they will establish their own household on land belonging to either of them. Husbands and wives have separately owned property; what they acquire in common will be their common property. Divorce is not uncommon, and may be initiated by either spouse. If the wife wants a divorce the bride-price must be returned, whereas this is not the case if it is the husband who wants a divorce.

Domestic Unit. The nuclear family, consisting of man and wife with unmarried children, is the most common domestic unit. Often newly married children stay with the parents. A parent or sibling of either the husband or the wife may join the household, usually if the person in question is single.

Inheritance. Property is divided equally between the children in spite of the precepts of the Quran that a daughter's inheritance shall be only half as big as a son's.

Socialization. The children are brought up in the family; they begin at an early age to help with family work. Older siblings often take care of smaller brothers or sisters. Formerly the only education the children had was to learn to read the Quran, although there were a few schools before World War II. Today there are several private and public schools. At first many parents did not want their children to go to these schools, but now an increasing number go, although many also attend the Quranic school.

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