Pentecost - Marriage and Family



Marriage. From the viewpoint of the male, marriage is Ideally with the same "house" from which the father's mother came; marriage between agnates should be avoided. The mothers of spouses should be agnates of adjacent and not alternate generations. Marriages have always been primarily effected through the formal exchange of bride-wealth, but the alternatives of elopement or infant betrothal were more prevalent in the past. Bride-wealth is now predominantly paid in cash, with token payments of pigs and mats, the traditional components. Only Church of Christ converts totally outlaw bride-wealth. Although marriages in both traditionalist and Christian villages are to some extent "arranged," the desires of prospective spouses are also crucial. Most adults are now in monogamous marriages, but a third of all adult men in traditionalist villages have at some time been polygynous. Monogamy is mandatory for Christian converts. On marriage the couple typically (85 percent) live patrilocally, with about 10 percent living neolocally. Because marriages are often contracted within a village, women often remain close to their natal kin. Divorce is rare, constituting only 5 percent of all unions contracted.

Domestic Unit. The domestic unit is typically an elementary family, with a minority being patrilaterally extended and a tiny percentage consisting of a sole parent with children. Where a man is polygynous, his wives usually maintain separate dwellings. Now men sleep and eat more routinely in the domestic dwelling, using the male clubhouse as a refectory and dormitory on rare ritual occasions. Such exclusivist male clubhouses no longer exist in Christian communities, and there husbands and wives eat and sleep together rather than separately.

Inheritance. Inheritance of house sites and household effects is predominantly patrilineal, with a greater share going to the eldest son. Pigs, however, are not inherited but are killed at the deaths of their owners. Land, fishing grounds, and fruit groves are patrilineally inherited. Ritual powers of priests and diviners are typically inherited patrilineally by males, but the spiritual skills of sorcery, weather magic, love magic, and war magic may be purchased, though often by close male kin.

Socialization. Although children are primarily nurtured by their parents, elder siblings, and grandparents, there is much communal socialization and interhousehold visiting. The primary values imparted are those of respect for rank and age, the centrality of hard work, cooperation, and consensus. Most children in Christian villages, and some in traditionalist ones, are currently in school.

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