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Regional customs and habits

Customs of Ireland

Marriage and Family

People usually marry in their early to mid-20s. Most weddings are performed in a church, but a minority are also performed in a registry office. After marriage, many people in rural areas stay close to their family’s home and visit frequently. Many couples, particularly in the cities, live together before or instead of marriage.

Customs of Israel

Marriage and Family

Wedding traditions vary depending on cultural background. Jewish weddings are important social events, often including a large dinner party where singing and dancing last well into the night. During the wedding ceremony, it is traditional for the man to break a glass by stepping on it. This commemorates the destruction of the Second Temple of Israel in ad 70. Today the bride sometimes joins the groom in smashing the glass. A ketubah is the Jewish marriage contract which is signed by both bride and groom.

Customs of Jordan

Marriage and Family

In general, parents still play a significant role in arranging marriages. Young people often meet at the university or at work and request their parents’ assistance in their courtship and subsequent marriage. One-on-one meetings are generally reserved for after the engagement party or until the marriage contract has been signed. A bridal token is given to the bride’s family by the groom. Women tend to marry in their early 20s, and men marry when they have the means to support a family (usually by their early 30s).

Customs of Jamaica

Marriage and Family

Jamaican families in lower socioeconomic groups are usually larger than those in the middle or upper classes. Many Jamaicans believe that men need to prove their virility by fathering a child and women their fertility by giving birth. Women assume the primary responsibility for child care, but children often live with grandparents, other relatives, or godparents when the mother works outside the home. Most families live in houses or townhouses rather than apartments. Homes are generally built of concrete or, in rural areas, wood.

Customs of Kenya

Marriage and Family

Whether young people choose their own spouses varies according to the community—in some, families are responsible for the selection. Educated couples tend to marry later than those who have not continued their studies past primary school. The dowry system, in which a payment of money or livestock is made by the groom’s family to the bride’s family, is still common, but the practice varies enormously from area to area and has changed significantly in recent decades. Among some groups, specific gifts must be given in order for a marriage to be fully recognized.