Marriage and Kinship of the Nuer People

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Marriage and Kinship of the Nuer People

The Nuer is a tribe of people located along the Eastern banks of the Nile River in Southern Su dan. Traditionally, the Nuer's most prominent possession is their cattle. It is essential to their society to the point they are willing to die fighting for their cattle. Much prestige and status is determined by the quantity and quality of the cattle one owns. It can be better understood by the way the Nuer will often take the name of their favorite cattle or oxen. In a way, cattle become an extension to the family.

One of the primary goals for traditonal Nuer men and women is marriage. It is an important part of Nuer society. It is ingrained as children to become married and start a home. It is evident as children will role-play imagining themselves as individuals taking on the daily tasks of adult men and women who are married.

Nuer society is a sexually open society. The parents are not sexually discrete. Boys are initiated around the age of sixteen. This is when they are circumsized and will cut six lines on the forehead as symbolism into manhood. Once this is finished the boys will begin to pursue the girls during various ceremonies, dances, and rituals. There is a good sense of sexual freedom within the Nuer society. Marriage is encouraged and at the forefront of interest in the youth so there is much consideration in a future partnership when considering sex.

Marriage is brought about by the payments of bride-wealth and certain ceremonial rites. Cattle is exchanged at every ceremony and stage of marriage but it does not guarantee or finalize the marriage. The bride's family can pressure the groom's family with ceremonial rites as well as the groom's family can entice the girl's family to advance the ceremony by with holding cattle. Each cattle exchanging ceremony to win over the bride or to entice the family of the bride is signified and drawn to conclusion by the acceptance of the cattle offered. There is...
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