Arubans - Kinship

Kin Groups and Descent. Until the beginning of the twentieth century, the extended family and the conjugal nuclear-family household were the centers of kinship organization. Traditionally, as a result of patri- or matrilocal settlement, groups of brothers and/or sisters and their spouses lived near each other on family grounds. Marriage between close kin was common. Incest prohibition applied to the primo carnal (bilateral first cousin). Geographical and genealogical propinquity therefore were virtualy synonymous. A shortage of land and urbanization caused a decrease in patri- and matrilocal settlement and the weakening of the traditional type of kinship organization. Descent rules are bilateral.

Kinship Terminology. Kinship terminology parallels that of Catholic canon law. The term yui mayó (oldest child) refers to the eldest offspring's special position as the first successor to the parents. Kinship terminology is also used to address oneself to nonrelatives, the terms ruman (brother), primo (cousin), and swa (brother-in-law) meaning "friend." Ritual kinship focuses around the godparents, the padrino and madrina, who each have clearly defined obligations regarding the godchild's baptism, first holy communion, and marriage.

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