Husband Wife Relationship

Until recent times, the overall tabugul-ta'ay, "pure-polluted," belief system had day-to-day implications regarding husband and wife relations, interactions, and behaviors. For example, a husband and wife would never show affection publicly and, when traveling together, never walk side by side; the wife would always follow a number of steps behind. The layout of the traditional Yapese house best exemplifies the husband-wife restrictions.

The traditional Yapese house consists of one large rectangular room and a front and back veranda. The right side of the house is considered "pure," and that is where the husband sleeps. By comparison, the left side is "polluted," and that is where the wife and children sleep. The rear veranda is considered "pure," and that is where the husband entertains his male guests. The wife never sits on the rear veranda. The front veranda is considered to be more "polluted" than the rear, but the right side of the front veranda is more "pure" than the left, so when the husband is on the front veranda with his wife, he sits on the right side and she on the left.

When the wife of a man who was participating in the eating-class system entered the garden plot where food for her husband was to be collected, she would wear a grass skirt to be used only when entering the designated "pure" land plots. The husband's food was grown in plots separate from the rest of the family, harvested in baskets that were kept separate, and then cooked in separate pots. The restrictions associated with the men's eating classes were especially burdensome on the wife. And, at the end of the day, the Yapese husband and wife did not eat together.

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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