Zoque - Marriage and Family

Marriage. Family-arranged marriage has practically disappeared, giving place to marriage based on individual decision or elopement. Thereby the long and costly marriage negotiations are avoided, which could entail up to ten visits and presents of chocolate, bread, refreshments, and alcoholic drinks—things that the groom's family must take to the prospective bride's family. The ancient division of communities into ceremonial wards and kinship-oriented entities facilitated internal endogamy. Nowadays their almost total disappearance leaves endogamy at the community level as a defensive mechanism to limit the usufruct of community lands to community families. Polygamy is infrequent, and those cases that do occur are condemned by Catholic or Evangelical ecclesiastical authorities.

Domestic Unit. The basic residential unit is the nuclear family, particularly since the decline in patrilocal residence. Each biological or nuclear family takes meals by itself, independently of the other families, although nuclear families help one another in agricultural labor and in ritual obligations.

Inheritance. Traditionally, inheritance was in the male line. Patrilineal inheritance has been replaced by bilateral inheritance, although the tendency is for men to receive lands, whereas women inherit domestic animals and utensils. Many inheritances are granted in life, causing tensions and disputes between parents and children and between siblings.

Socialization. Children are generally treated with respect and are not punished. Their play is relatively unsupervised, and they are very close to their mothers, with whom they live and whom they help in various domestic tasks. School is obligatory, although very few children finish their primary studies. The other medium of socialization is participation in religious rituals, depending on the family's religious orientation.

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