Manam - Marriage and Family

Marriage. Although most marriages are monogamous, polygamy is still practiced. Village chiefs in particular have more than one wife. All marriages used to be arranged, but now young people usually decide who they will marry. The groom's family gives bride-wealth to the bride's relatives. With the Exception of village chiefs, marriage tends to be endogamous within a village and residence patrilocal. A marriage is not considered final until the birth of a couple's first child. Prior to that divorce is relatively easy and frequent among young couples.

Domestic Unit. The nuclear family is the basic family unit although extended family households are common. In polygamous households each wife has her own hearth and gardens and cooks for her husband and children. Parents desire at least one child of each sex and adoption of children is a Common practice between siblings. Firstborn children, especially male, receive special attention and have special rights and duties.

Inheritance. Both men and women inherit property from their parents, although firstborn males inherit more than other siblings. Claims to a man's property are made by his adult children through the performance of a ritual feast called boro da paso held in his honor while he is still alive.

Socialization. Although women are the primary caretakers, men often help with child care. Older siblings also share in the responsibility of raising younger children. Sex segregation and socialization into gender roles begins at a young age. Shame is a dominant concept used to shape conformity to culturally appropriate behavior.

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