Poqomam - Marriage and Family

Marriage among the Poqomam involves large expenditures and a long period of negotiations between families. Ideally, a wedding proposal begins when the parents of the prospective bride and groom enter into a long period of economic bargaining. During this period, the parents exchange gifts at their many visits until one set of parents is unable to match the gifts of the other. At this time, the family with the lesser gift offers their child in marriage to the child of the other family. After this period of negotiations, both a civil ceremony and a religious ceremony are held during a three-day period of celebration.

Because of the expense accrued by following the traditional marriage pattern, many individuals have opted for alternative forms of marriage. Juntados, are those who simply live together without a civil or religious ceremony. Often, couples who have lived together for a period of time and who have children will go ahead and be married in a formal ceremony. This is called an unión de hecho.

Children are socialized into their gender roles from an early age. Female children are taught by their mothers to cook and to make clothing and pottery. Male children are taken to the milpa plot and are expected to help their fathers in making charcoal. They are also allowed to carry machetes and to smoke.

Inheritance patterns provide a means for parents to ensure their care in old age: the children who take care of their parents inherit their material possessions.

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