Guambiano - Marriage and Family

Marriage. The Guambiano exhibit a tendency toward community and ethnic endogamy and neighborhood ( vereda ) exogamy. Young people choose their mates freely and only rarely are marriages arranged through the intervention of the parents, as was formerly usual. Relations between young people develop spontaneously, with sexual relations permitted after puberty but without the implication of a formal commitment. The advantage of a possible union is discussed with the parents, who, besides considering the economic aspect, also give great importance to the reputation and the prestige in the community of the potential family of in-laws. Although trial unions ( amano ) are less in vogue among modern Guambiano because of religious indoctrination and acculturation, they continue to be considered a basic prerequisite for harmonious conjugal relationships. Marriage as an institution is still characterized by a great deal of autocthonous cultural content. The marriage ceremony, however, has evolved within the context of Catholic ritual and is generally performed in Silvia or in other major municipalities, where the bride presents herself, accompanied by relatives and godparents.

Domestic Unit. Domestic units are generally made up of a nuclear family that occupies its own house. Sometimes family groups are made up of more than the members of the nuclear family. Such situations tend to be transitory, however, and are associated with the presence of male children who have formed their families but have not as yet built their own homes. Postmarital residence is virilocal. Only under special circumstances will the young couple reside with the wife's family. Even though neolocal in residence, a newly founded nuclear family forms part of the husband's domestic unit of orientation, in which the authority of the father must be accepted. The husband works with his father and the wife collaborates in domestic work with her sisters-in-law under the tutelage of her mother-in-law.

Inheritance. Although land is community property, usufruct is inheritable. Even if the land passes to the town council as established by law, the tendency is to give these plots to the sons of the deceased. Although, in principle, all natural and adopted children should inherit equally, men inherit more than women, and there is evidence that the oldest son may receive more than his younger brothers.

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