Regional customs and habits

Customs of Chile

Marriage and Family

Most people wait until they have finished their education before getting married. Most men do not marry before age 22; most women marry between 18 and 23. Couples often date from one to three years before getting engaged. Traditional Christian wedding ceremonies are common. Divorce is legal.

The father is considered head of the family, but the mother has considerable influence, and the relationship between husbands and wives is generally one of reciprocity. Men have tended to dominate private and public life in the past, but in recent years attitudes about the position and role of women in society have been changing. 33.2 percent (1999)

Customs of Colombia

Marriage and Family

Many couples choose to live together before or instead of marriage. Marriage ceremonies generally follow Catholic traditions.

Traditional values remain a strong influence on family relations—the father feels obliged to provide for his family, while the mother is considered responsible for most of the affairs of the home. An increasing number of women work outside the home; almost half of the labor force is female. It is the custom for a child to have two family names; the last name is the mother’s family name, and the second-to-last name is the father’s family name. People use either their full name or go by their father’s family name, which is the official surname. Therefore, a person named José Muñoz Gómez would be called Señor Muñoz.

Customs of Democratic Republic of the Congo

Marriage and Family

Traditionally, marriage is a family affair and is at least partly arranged by parents. Among matrilineal families, the preferred marriage partner is a cousin—one of the mother’s brothers’ children. However, that pattern is slowly changing, especially in urban areas.

Although family structure varies greatly among the different ethnic groups, much emphasis is placed on group goals and overall family welfare.

Customs of Comoros

Marriage and Family

The most conspicuous social statement in Comoros is the Grand Marriage. Any man who wishes to be a full-fledged member of the community’s group of elders, or Notables, must marry off at least his eldest daughter in a Grand Marriage. Maternal uncles can also give a Grand Marriage for nieces. This highly expensive, multi-ceremony event lasts more than a week. Families save for it for years and can spend their life savings on providing meals and other celebrations for the entire village. Guests bring expensive gifts, the details of which are carefully noted so that the recipients can properly reciprocate in the future.

Customs of Croatia

Marriage and Family

Generally, people in rural areas marry in their early 20s and urban dwellers in their late 20s to early 30s. To be legally married, one must have a civil ceremony, but having a church wedding before the civil ceremony has become popular since the demise of communism. After the ceremony, a wedding reception is usually held at home or in a restaurant. Weddings in rural areas are a particular cause for celebration, and the festivities may last for days.