Maisin - Marriage and Family

Marriage. Until the recent exodus to the towns, the vast majority of Maisin married close to home, although almost always outside of their own patrician. Sister exchange was the preferred form of marriage since it required no bride-wealth payments. Many such arrangements, however, broke down and in the past, as today, young people exercised considerable choice in their marriage partners. Premarital intercourse is common. Many individuals will temporarily live with a series of partners before settling with their permanent spouse, often after children are born. Husbands are expected to raise bride-wealth and the couple should also arrange formal prestations to the wife's kin to mark the birth and maturation of their firstborn. Many villagers complain, however, that couples today delay and often never meet their exchange obligations. Some couples are initially married in the church, but most wait, often until they have children, before seeking a priest's blessing of their union. Upon marriage, most couples settle initially with one of the husband's clansmen before building their own house in the patriclan's hamlet. The church frowns on divorce, but it is common and informal. Monogamy is the norm, but a few polygamous marriages occur in most villages.

Domestic Unit. A household, usually with a nuclear Family at its core, makes up the basic working unit: gardening and consuming together. Parents, grandparents, adult siblings, aunts and uncles and other kin often enlarge the household. As older relations lose their ability for physical labor, their children build small satellite houses where they live in semiseclusion.

Inheritance . Most ritual property is bestowed upon the eldest, particularly if it is a boy. Sons inherit land equally and daughters are allowed to garden their fathers' land after they marry. They may not, however, pass this right to their own children.

Socialization. Infants and children are raised by their Parents, close kin, and siblings. Older children provide much child care for younger siblings and cousins. Adults teach Children to be respectful and cooperative by example and by chiding, rarely by punishment. From age 6 or 7, children spend a considerable amount of their time in school. Formerly, all males underwent short initiations into their patricians. Much larger ceremonies were staged for firstborn children, male and female, and these occasionally still take place. Most Maisin girls still have their faces tattooed during puberty. As more children have entered distant high schools and as more villagers have left for jobs in the towns, traditional puberty practices have declined.

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