Bride Price in Papua New Guinea

Bride price is the formalised gift-giving of money and traditional valuables to the father of a would-be bride. It might include shell money, cash, pigs and even SP Lager. Traditionally, the relatives of the bridegroom gave food, ornaments and other valuables, such as shell money, to the relatives of the bride. This practice is still widely, although not universally, observed. Today bride price is frequently paid in cash rather than goods. Both in the traditional and the modern economies the bride price represents considerable wealth. The term “bride price” is misleading as it suggests that the bride is simply being bought, when what is involved is a complex exchange between the bride-giving group and the bride-taking group.

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