Piro - Marriage and Family



Marriage. Restriction to marriage within the obsolete endogamous clan is not observed, but marriage of parallel cousins is strictly avoided. Suit is traditionally made to the prospective mother-in-law, and after the wedding feast uxorilocal residence and bride-service are expected. Formerly, marriage might be respectably consummated as early as the bride's 12th year, although 14 was considered a more proper age. Divorce was frequent and informal: either party might "throw out" the other. However, marriage has become comparatively stable since the late 1940s. Desire for education has discouraged early teenage marriages.

Domestic Unit. The extended family may occupy one large house with separate mosquito nets, or separate houses in the same clearing. There have been a few polygynous marriages; the wives lived in the same house. Meals are shared by all, the men forming a separate circle.

Inheritance. The personal property of a deceased person is usually burned, thrown into the river, or buried. Occupants of his or her house continue to live in it.

Socialization. Since kinship among all Piro is assumed, routine activities are often communal. Parents are held responsible for the behavior of their children. Discipline is lax until a child is spanked severely with nettles at the age of 2 or 3. For several years thereafter, the threat of nettles is sufficient correction.

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