Balinese Marriage System

The married system in Bali follows the Male line descendant. The men are responsible for handling of the house, community and temple: This comprises of the Family temple, clan temple, village temple and other main temples on Bali Island.

Due to this, every family always have high hopes for a male baby, they feel incomplete if they do have not a male yet. We are always big hope for have a baby male however, in reality, we need this. This is not the say the female is not important. If we have no son in the family we have another solution. For instance, if only daughters, they can a man to marry them and come into their family provided of course, he agrees to marry her. His position in the family would then be similar as a wife. This system we call Nyentana. I have written about this at the last article. If both of them gets divorced they have share from the guna kaya (own income during the marriage period only). He is not allowed to share the property of the family that was there prior to marriage.

This era not like thirty years ago where the parent would arrange who their children married, now they can marry whoever they want. The women have now become more independent. Mostly the couple marry because love each other. If in the event that all of the daughters marry into other male lines (and none of them marry a man willing to be part of her family) then a close male family line will take over the responsibility to care her parent etc. along with the family property. She would not care her parents as well as her husband’s parents, but she would no longer be involved in any formal decision making situation, involving her parents, once she is married. This is happening here now.

Outside of marriage women are now equal to men. They can hold the same positions in government and the professional work. The salary is the same as that for a man so long as the qualification and experience is the same.

When a couple is unable to naturally have their own child, they are allowed to adopt a child, and a special ceremony is done to welcome and make them as their own child. We would first look to get adopt close family member before searching elsewhere. We call this meras pianak. The process must be legal and witnessed by the all the family members, both of parents, villagers, and needs a legal document registered with the government. This is about formal identity for the next generation, so that there can be no confusion. It is also relevant when they have ceremonies as they will always ask for blessings and holy water to their family temple, clan temple from where it is originated and others temple. This system will always make connected from the oldest to the youngest generation.

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