South Sulawesi, Bajau Wedding
Marriage. Kin are favored as marriage partners. Exceptions are the children of brothers and those nursed by the same mother or nursemaid. Marriage is either parentally arranged or initiated by elopement or abduction. Arranged marriages are the ideal, but elopement is frequent. Marriage negotiations are normally set in motion by the man’s family, often with the help of a go-between. After a proposal is accepted, the bride’s father designates one of his kinsmen to act as his daughter’s guardian ( wakil ). The man chosen formally receives bride-wealth from the groom’s family and represents the woman’s side during the wedding ceremony. The religious component of the rite is conducted by an imam. Weddings usually take place in the guardian’s house, to which the couple is conducted in separate ceremonial processions, often with music and dancing. Divorce is frequent during the first two or three years of marriage and remarriage is relatively easy for both partners. After that, divorce tends to be infrequent. Following marriage, a couple is expected to set up its own household within two or three years, except for one child, usually the youngest, who normally remains to look after the parental couple in their old age. New houses are generally built close to the natal household of the bride. Polygyny is permitted but infrequent.