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Regional customs and habits

Customs of Sweden

Marriage and Family

Many people choose to live together rather than get married. Often, a couple marries after they have lived together for several years, or when they have a child. Unmarried couples who live together have nearly the same rights and obligations under the law as married couples. Families generally have only one or two children. Most women (48 percent, 1999) work outside the home.Young children are cared for at day-care centers while parents are at work. The nuclear family is the basic social unit, but extended family relationships are maintained through gatherings and holiday visits. Elderly individuals generally rely on the social system or themselves for their care and support.

Customs of Switzerland

Marriage and Family

Many couples live together for several years before getting married or instead of marriage. It is considered important to finish one’s education or to become financially established before getting married. Most Swiss marry in their middle to late 20s.

Families are generally small, with only one or two children. Family privacy is considered important. Traditionally, the man is considered the head of the household; however, women increasingly work outside the home, although to a lesser extent than in many other European countries.

Customs of Tahiti

Marriage and Family

Marriages were traditionally influenced by the families, but today young people have greater freedom in choosing marriage partners. The tradition of celebrating marriages with elaborate feasts and festivities continues.

Traditionally, Tahitian families were large, usually with many children and several generations sharing a home. It is still common for couples to live with the husband’s or wife’s parents for a time after marriage, but increased contact with Western culture has led to more nuclear families. In Polynesian culture, children are highly valued, and their upbringing is often shared by grandparents or other sets of adoptive parents (faamu). This system of informal adoption makes family relations somewhat complex.

Customs of Syria

Marriage and Family

Most people are careful to choose a potential marriage partner of whom the family approves. In fundamentalist circles, courtship practices follow rigid traditional rules, and parents play a dominant role in selecting marital partners for their children.

Most people live with or near the extended family. Syrians place a high priority on mutual support and acting in the best interests of the family and its reputation; the majority of social activities are arranged on a family basis. The father is usually considered the undisputed head of the family. The elderly are shown particular respect.

Customs of Taiwan

Marriage and Family

Families in Taiwan have traditionally been large, but a government family-planning program encourages couples to have no more than two children. An education campaign has reduced population growth and the size of today’s nuclear family. It is not uncommon for elderly parents to live with their children. In rural areas, larger extended families often share the same home. Although affection is not openly displayed between family members in the Western manner, families have a deep-rooted sense of unity and obligation to each other. Family members will agree rather than cause disunity in the family. The family as a unit also maintains control over the individual. Children generally yield to the counsel of their parents or to the advice of the oldest member of the extended family.