Otomí of the Valley of Mezquital - Marriage and Family



Marriage. Marriage is monogamous. Owing to migration, marriage of Otomí to nonindigenous partners is common, especially the marriage of Otomí women to mestizo men. Marriage generally takes place between 17 and 20 years of age in the case of men, and 15 and 17 years of age in the case of women. The marriage proposal is made by the man to his future in-laws. If the bride's parents approve, the betrothal period lasts between six months and a year. During this time, the young man will help his bride's family in agricultural work and will give presents to his future father-in-law.

Inheritance. Inheritance of land is through the paternal line. Women do not inherit land from their parents because they are incorporated into their husband's family; therefore they frequently inherit their husband's lands when they are widowed.

The oldest son receives part of the paternal landholdings when his first son is born; the same occurs with the other sons, except for the lastborn, who lives in his parents' home and will not inherit until his father dies. Migration diminishes the number of heirs and thereby reduces tension and intrafamily conflicts over landholdings.

Socialization. Socialization begins within the family nucleus and continues through early participation in work. With the declining importance of religious cargos, socialization is being transferred from the tutelage of elders to government primary school and, in some cases, to school hostels administered by the Instituto Nacional Indigenista. Children often drop out of school because they are needed to help with agricultural labor.


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