Marriage. Marriage practices are changing. Traditional marriages were arranged by the parents, and the groom was required to provide maize, beans, pigs, and alcohol to the bride's father. This bride-wealth payment was substantial—the equivalent of 400 to 600 days' wage labor—but it could be spread out over a period of two years or so. Today young people often meet at public events. Some couples decide to elope; then, after they are married, they will ask to be pardoned, and the groom will provide some small gifts (amounting to about 10 days' wage labor) to the bride's father. Men are often married by the age of 18, women by 16.
Postmarital residence is variable, being determined largely by access to land. Because fathers usually pass on land to their sons, there is a tendency for couples to live in the hamlet of the groom's family. If a couple lacks access to land, however, they may decide to live with the bride's family or to migrate and establish a new household.
Domestic Unit. A married man usually heads the household. Female-headed households are rare. A typical household consists of a husband, a wife, and their several children (on average, more than four), but other family members—such as an aged single parent, children's spouses, and grandchildren—may join these households. Each household works collectively in the fields, cooks and eats together, and provides money and labor for community projects.
Inheritance. Inheritance is bilateral, as prescribed by Mexican law; however, there is a marked tendency for sons to inherit productive resources such as land, coffee trees, and large domestic animals. Resources are divided equitably among the sons. Daughters usually receive a minor cash settlement or other compensation, but occasionally they inherit animals or coffee trees.
Socialization. Children are socialized in the household. They are rarely apart from their mothers, who carry their children in large shawls tied on their backs as they work during the day and sleep next to them at night. Older siblings, especially girls, also play a large caretaking role. As children grow, they learn by watching and working with their parents and siblings. Young boys work with their fathers, girls with their mothers. Parents are generally tolerant, and children are usually respectful, although excessive drinking does, on occasion, produce abusive behavior in adult men. Schools, which are now found in most communities, are beginning to play a larger role; they are acquainting Indian children with Mexican national culture, history, and identity. Pupils rarely attend beyond the fourth grade because, to do so, they would need to migrate to the headtown or outside the municipio. The impact of formal education thus remains limited.