Relationships, Marriage, & Family Life in Palau
Dating in Palau is somewhat muted as public displays of affection
are discouraged and open dating is considered inappropriate by many. Despite this,
dating is growing in popularity and today many couples date prior to marriage (historically
dating was uncommon as most marriages were arranged by the families). In the past,
and to a much lesser degree today, marriages were based more on finances and politics
than they were on love as people married another with a similar economic standing
as money was exchanged between the two families. Today this is no longer required,
but many aspects of this past are still present.
Traditionally, when a man decides he wants to marry a woman he goes to the girl's
father to ask permission, but the conversation is often done with a spokesperson
who will negotiate the marriage and state the future groom's intentions. Even
today permission is needed from both the bride's and groom's parents and
if either set of parents disagrees with the marriage it will likely not happen.
If the marriage is to take place, the new couple would remain in her parents'
house until they moved to his parents' house with a large offering of food.
The marriage ceremony today is official with the exchange of money from the groom's
family to the bride's.