Canela - Marriage and Family

Marriage. Marriage is always monogamous and takes place between unrelated individuals of the opposite sex and between "distantly" related ones. Longhouse exogamy is almost always respected, even for affairs, and exogamy is also maintained for cross-cousin-related longhouses. No prescriptions or preferences were or are (1990s) practiced for first marriages. Residence is uxorilocal; exceptions are temporary. It is neolocal when overcrowding occurs and older daughters with several children erect a house beside or behind their mother's. Sororate occurs when a widow's kin succeeds in retaining her widower for their children—ideal but infrequent. Levirate is not practiced. Hearth females rarely accept related husbands into their unit. Such combined outsider strength is undesirable. Parents arranged most marriages and childhood engagements, but now couples initiate marriages. Loss of virginity to a man without children constitutes marriage, but the union is weak and often broken, with significant material restitution made by the husband's kin. The seriousness of a marriage grows as a succession of rites strengthen it. Childbirth cements a marriage, and divorce seldom occurs while the children are growing. Extensive extramarital sex is the alternative, and this practice, individual- or group-based, is sanctioned in several festivals. Marriage is for raising children.

Domestic Unit. The hearth economic unit is also the domestic unit, with any of its women carrying out most mothers' roles for any child.

Inheritance. Inheritance is minimal in a society that had few nonperishable items and little individual wealth. Generally, daughters inherit from mothers and sons from fathers.

Socialization. Socialization is very permissive for both sexes until puberty, except for severe punishments for fighting and incest. At puberty "uncles" and "aunts" took over the disciplining from parents, scolding and shaming their "nephews" and "nieces" into conformity more harshly. Acculturation has considerably weakened this control over adolescents.

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