Otomí of the Sierra - Marriage and Family

Marriage. There are three validations of marriage: native custom, marriage by Mexican civil law, and marriage by the Catholic church. The native custom is the most important. The groom's family petitions the bride's family. Later, if the negotiations are successful, the bride is escorted to the groom's house during a native ceremony called the "delivery ( d'äpi ) of the bride." The ceremony includes formal counsel, a procession to the groom's house, and a feast. If the parents do not agree, elopement is possible. Postmarital residence is virilocal and then neolocal.

Domestic Unit. The household is either a nuclear family or an extended family made up of parents, married children, and their offspring. In the extended-family household, each nuclear family usually has its own house within a residential complex.

Inheritance. Land is inherited by both sons and daughters but not necessarily in equal amounts. Parents determine who receives what. The amount of land inherited depends on the needs of the offspring and their ability to work the land. Oratorios , religious buildings housing family religious images, are inherited patrilineally.

Socialization. Newborn infants are secluded. Infants are swaddled until they are a year old. Mothers play with nursing children and tease them with their breasts. Complete weaning may not take place until 4 years of age. Infant play is relatively unrestricted. On the peasant farm, children perform traditional gender roles as soon as they are able. Schooling is encouraged for both sexes up to the third grade—and beyond, if there are facilities. Government-run secondary schools are available in the towns and some villages. Children from more remote communities who desire more education live with another family in a town and go to school there.

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