Yap - Marriage and Family

Marriage. Yapese consider it improper to marry anyone who may be kin. Yapese young people generally select their own mates, and most have one or two trial marriages before they establish a permanent relationship that results in Children. Yapese parents prefer that their children marry in the same village or among similar ranking villages. However, today with the central high school on the island and young people commuting by bus, many Yapese are marrying people from other villages and other districts of the island. Generally, a Yapese couple resides initially with the husband's Family and establishes permanent residence on the husband's land in the husband's village. Divorce among the Yapese is common and is effected by mutual agreement. The young woman returns to her household of birth, leaving the children and property with her husband.

Domestic Unit. People who eat together constitute the tabinaw. This household is usually a nuclear family in which a husband and wife work according to a complementary division of labor and responsibility for their subsistence and Children. A newly married couple may join the husband's father's household for a temporary period until they establish their own gardens and build a sleeping and cooking house.

Inheritance. Fathers distribute land to their sons according to need and age. The oldest son receives the rights to titled parts of the estate and will assume the father's leadership role among his siblings upon his father's death and in his younger brothers' families upon and their deaths. Younger sons receive an appropriate portion of the estate to support their families. Daughters do not inherit land, but they may be given a gift of a small parcel to provide support in case of Divorce. Parents provide support for their adult unmarried or Divorced daughters.

Socialization. Yapese parents and siblings share responsibilities for care and upbringing of children. Yapese emphasize generosity and sharing, and they give elder siblings the primary responsibility for the protection and care of the younger. This pattern is carried into adult life and characterizes the Relationship between siblings until death.

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