Motu - Marriage and Family

Marriage. Although, traditionally, important men sometimes married several wives, Motu marriages today are monogamous. There is a rule against marrying any cognate but traditionally marriage within the village was preferred, which sometimes severely limited the range of choices and encouraged relaxation of the rule in the case of distant cognates. Traditionally, too, marriages were arranged, and childhood betrothals were common, but nowadays young people are mainly free to choose their own spouses. Gift exchanges traditionally accompanied various stages in the process of betrothal and marriage, culminating in the main presentation of bride-wealth (in the past consisting mainly of arm shells but now including substantial sums of money). In recent times, bride-wealth inflation, led by wealthier Motu, has delayed or impeded this final legitimation of marriages according to

Motu custom among the less wealthy. Residence after Marriage was traditionally viripatrilocal. Divorce, involving a Return of bride-wealth, was possible but infrequent.

Domestic Unit. Traditionally, household members pooled foodstuffs and cooked together, but component nuclear Families ate separately. Households, or sometimes component Nuclear families within households, maintained their own Garden plots. Each household had its own small fishing nets, though larger nets were owned and operated by the whole iduhu.

Inheritance. Houses and major household effects were (and are) usually inherited by the householder's oldest son. Other sons and their families might continue to live there, but they would seek eventually to establish their own separate households.

Socialization. All members of the household help in caring for and raising children, but mothers undertake the major chores. Traditional skills were learned by boys from their Fathers and other senior men of the household, and by girls from their mothers and other senior women.

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