To'abaita Authority for Research & Development (TARD)

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Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Traditional Marriage (Luma'a) Arrangements in To'abaita

To'abaita is a region in Malaita Province that regards traditional marriage, "Luma'a", as a very important cultural norm or practice. Traditionally, marriages are arranged in To'abaita. This means that the father (Maka) and mother (Thaina) of the boy (Dara) would shop around for a girl (Thari)for their son without him knowing about it. In special cases, baby boys and girls born around the same time are fixed to marry when they were old enough. However, nowadays boys or girls are allowed to choose their partners through other avenues beside the traditional arrangement alone.

With regards to the traditional arrangement, when the parents of the young man found a girl they would inform the girls parents about their intention. Both parents would then discuss and an initial agreement on a bride price is set. Once a deal has been made, both parents will inform their son or daughter about the arrangements. In most cases the girl would say yes because she is obliged to agree with her parents. The girl's parents are the final decision makers in this arrangement. Later, normal arrangements for marriage and wedding would go ahead with news being passed to other relatives of both the bride (Kini fungao)and the groom (Fungao). The boy's relatives would then contribute the bride-price including Tafuliaes (Malefo), taro (Alo), pig (Botho), dolphin teeth (Lifia), and other goods, as requested by the girl's relatives.
Contribution of Tafuliae for the bride-price

On the wedding day, the boy's parents and relatives will travel to the girl's village and make a traditional presentation of the bride-price collected to the girls relatives. If the girl's relatives are satisfied with the bride-price, the bride will be led away to the groom's village. This is done by the groom's mother and another respectable woman holding onto both of the bride's hands.

Traditional presentation of a bride-price at Roso Village

When the group is about to reach the boy's village, women will line the road with traditional mats (Kaufa) so that the bride will walk on it as a token of respect towards the bride and her family. During that time there will other boys and girls from the bride's side that will accompany her (Kwai Abetaia) to help her carry out the house chores and other work in the gardens for the first 1-2 weeks. The hive of activities during this period often resulted in new relationships that will create new marriages. Boys accompanying the bride during a marriage in Roso

After the 1-2 weeks period, the gathering will be dissolved and the bride and the groom will be allowed to stay together as husband and wife.

Pictures provided by: Edward Danitofea

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