Tepehua - Marriage and Family



A proper marriage requires that the groom's family formally petition the bride's family. The two families meet weekly at the house of the potential bride. The petitioning family brings gifts of rum. At the last meeting, quantities of beer and rum are given to the future in-laws to distribute to their kin. The date of the delivery of the bride to the groom's house, the formal culmination of the marriage, is agreed upon. This will often be delayed for a year. There is a feast in honor of the bride and her family when the bride is delivered. Turkey mole (a sauce made from many ingredients including cacao) is served. The bride's family dresses her in new clothes. The couple then lives with the groom's family (patrilocal residence) until a new house can be built on the groom's family land.

This traditional marriage usually takes a year to complete. Reluctant to wait, many young men take their brides without the formal ceremonies. Seductions and rapes also occur. In these cases, the woman is taken to the man's home and the tension between the families is resolved through quiet diplomacy. A shaman may be called in to perform a ritual that assures that the children born of such a union do not suffer supernatural consequences because of the aggressive acts leading to their conception.


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