Garia - Marriage and Family

Marriage. "Close kin," that is, cognates linked by Marriages up to the second ascending generation, are forbidden to marry; more distant kin living within one's own political Region are the preferred marriage partners. Usually a man, when he is in his early twenties, selects a wife (in her late teens) from potentially hostile people, and his subsequent behavior toward his affines is marked by extreme respect. All men aspire to polygyny, but marriage entails a major and prolonged economic burden for a man, with bride-price payments that must be tendered to his immediate and close affines for many years. During the first year of marriage the wife lives apart from her husband in his mother's house, after which time the couple may cohabit. The rules for second marriages, especially those involving widows, are more complex. Ideally, there should be no close consanguineal or affinal links Between the parties, and bride-price must be paid by the new husband unless the couple elopes.

Domestic Unit. The basic domestic unit is an elementary or compound family, although families are not tightly knit and residential segregation of the sexes is maintained. Women are thought to be inherently dangerous to men; thus it is believed that men should not spend much time with women, and from adolescence until marriage a male is absolutely forbidden to associate with any female of child-bearing age. A husband and wife may work together at a garden site (with adolescent children usually planting on separate sites), but they will rest in separate groups formed on the basis of sex. Garden teams are socially irregular, formed around those men who wish to associate with certain middle-aged leaders, who supervise all gardening land.

Inheritance. Land rights are inherited by male agnates, ideally by sons but, when they are lacking, by true brothers and brothers' sons. Daughters rarely inherit land because they are considered to be the responsibility of their husbands.

Socialization. Parents and older relatives are the main Socializing agents, frequently indulging and rarely disciplining children. When a child is able to walk and talk it is taught the basics of kinship terminology and associated duties. It learns that cooperation and support are earned by correct behavior and that one cannot survive as a socioeconomic isolate. Young children sleep with their mothers, which girls will continue to do until they marry. Young boys form play groups, while girls spend most of their time with their mothers. At about the age of 10, a boy begins a sequence of initiation Ceremonies and moves into a clubhouse (sometimes leaving his parents' settlement), where he is segregated from all nubile women until he marries. Adolescent girls go through a first-menstruation ceremony but they remain living in their mothers' houses.

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