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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 34.djvu/95

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AINU FAMILY-LIFE AND RELIGION.

like dumplings. The groom is expected to provide most of the saké, if not all of it, as he is supposed to have engaged in manly vocations, to have received his share of the products of hunting and fishing, and to have accumulated enough money to buy the ceremonial wine, or beer rather, as saké is a brewed beverage, not a fermented or distilled liquor.

The newly married couple at once take possession of a new, small hut, which has been erected for them. These huts are made with a light frame of poles, the sides and roof being heavily thatched with reeds. They are by no means warm or impervious to the weather; indeed, many breaks in the thatching admit of ventilation to a degree that must lower the temperature in winter to a point well-nigh unbearable. The first hut is usually built upon ground belonging to the bride's father, and near his own house; but the location of the new hut seems to depend in a measure upon the manner of asking in marriage. If the groom or his father asks for the bride, then, to compensate the bride's father for the loss of his daughter, the groom goes to live on his father-in-law's land and becomes a member of his household; but if, on the contrary, the application has come from the other side, and the bride (as may sometimes be the case) or her father has asked for the groom in marriage, then compensation is considered to be due to his family, and the bride goes to her husband's land, becomes a member of her father-in-law's family, and assists in the domestic duties of her new home. An exception to this rule may occur when the bride's father has no sons, and asks for a husband for his oldest daughter in order to secure an heir.

When first married an Ainu couple is considered well set up in housekeeping if a small hut is provided with barely sufficient room for them to sleep on the left-hand or northern side of the central fireplace, a tiny little platform at the eastern end, opposite the entrance and under the sacred window, and a space on the right of the fireplace for guests, of about the same dimensions as the sleeping-place. For furniture there will probably be some mats to sit and sleep on, some rugs or skins for covering, a kettle, and a few dishes in which to serve food. As the family increases—and this is almost sure to be the case, for a childless family is unknown unless the fault is the man's—the house is either added to, or (as is more frequently the case) taken down and entirely rebuilt in more and more pretentious proportions, until it has its entrance porch opening to the south, its anteroom in a western extension, and its main apartment, sometimes thirty or forty feet square. Near it will be a small storehouse raised on stilts, and at one side a little patch of garden for beans, millet, etc.

When the newly married couple take possession, a house-warming is held. This, like every Ainu ceremony, is merely an