Leonese - Kinship, Marriage, and Family

Kinship is reckoned bilaterally, as is descent, but in terms of descent the paternal line is the more significant.

Marriage. Age at first marriage in Leon is generally 18 to 23 for women and 24 to 26 for men. Each of the potential spouses has a say in the match. Traditionally, each of the newlyweds received a marriage portion ( dote ) from their Parents, as a sort of advance on their inheritances, but beginning in the late nineteenth century this practice became too great an economic burden, jeopardizing the functioning of the parental households, and thus it no longer occurs. Husband and wife often continue to live in their respective parents' houses, so that they can continue to help on the farm and share in the harvests—otherwise, they would have no land upon which to establish their own farming enterprise. At night, the husband goes to the wife's house to sleep.

Domestic Unit. In Leon, the house itself may contain a number of related nuclear families, usually constituting a sororal or fraternal cooperative group (sisters, their spouses, and their several offspring; or brothers and their spouses and children) or a marital pair and one or more of their married offspring. A widowed parent generally goes to live with a married daughter.

Inheritance. Property rarely passes to the children of the owner prior to his or her death. Rather, use rights to the property, including land, are conferred. Children exercising rights of usufruct are thought to owe their parents part of the grain harvest in return for their land use. Strict equality of Inheritance is observed—not only in kind but in quality. Thus, if the family property consists of lands of varying arability, each heir will receive a small part of each type of land. This principle is followed in the case of inherited livestock and Household goods as well, whenever possible. The division of all property into equal portions is established in advance, and then the portions are allocated among the heirs by drawing lots. Inheritance of the house itself usually falls to the daughter or son who takes care of the elderly parents prior to their deaths.

Socialization. Early childhood training is the responsibility of the mother, although other female members of the Household may participate in the process. Extrafamilial institutions involved in socialization include the school and the church.

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