Ladinos - Marriage and Family

Marriage. Mixed marriages, either between Ladinos and mestizos of other groups or between Ladinos and Indians, are the most common form of marriage. In urban marriages with mestizos, the Christian ceremony is performed in the church of which both bride and groom are members, and, in many cases, there is also a civil ceremony. In the case of marriage to an Indian woman, the indigenous tradition of asking for the woman's hand must be followed, and traditional ceremonies must be performed in each community, including a Christian religious ceremony.

With increasing frequency, lack of money to pay the cost of any type of ceremony leads to "stealing" the bride, which also obviates the need for gifts. As a rule, however, even though it might be several years later and the couple may already have had children, they will attempt to formalize the relationship and reestablish relations with the wife's family.

Domestic Unit. For people who have only recently become Ladinos, or first-generation Ladinos, neolocal domestic units and simple nuclear families are typical. With succeeding generations, however, extended families that include the husband's mother and some of the sons and their wives become more common. Sons take their spouses to their paternal home, but daughters do not. Sometimes the youngest daughter of the family remains in the home and does not marry so as to attend to the needs of her parents in their old age, but, more frequently, an entenada or an older granddaughter takes on this obligation.

Inheritance. There are no clear rules regarding inheritance; however, it is expected that the oldest son or several of the sons will continue working in their father's occupation and will inherit his business. Nevertheless, if a daughter or younger son takes care of the business, she or he will be the one to inherit it, albeit with an obligation to help one's brothers. Families who are in a position to do so try to leave houses, lands, and some kind of small business to each of their children, including married daughters.

Socialization. Socialization of children—just as in the case of mestizos—takes place in schools, neighborhoods, and churches. Sometimes it occurs within the workplace, given that some of these children work from a very early age.

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