Regional customs and habits

Customs of Denmark

Marriage and Family

Many couples live together before or instead of getting married, and common-law marriages are recognized by the state. Families in Denmark are small, usually having one or two children. Both father and mother often work outside the home, and children are encouraged to be independent from a relatively young age. Average incomes are among the highest in the world, but Danes also pay high taxes, which in turn fund generous social welfare provisions such as child care and maternity and paternity leave. Northern Europe

Customs of Ecuador

Marriage and Family

When a girl reaches age 15, a Catholic ceremony officially presents her to society. If the family can afford it, a party with food, drinks, and dancing follows the ceremony. Women usually marry by age 23, and as young as 14 in some rural areas, while men marry around age 25. Families often emphasize that young people should complete their education before marrying. Many urban couples do not live together before their church wedding, even if they have already been married by law. Common-law relationships, referred to as estilo manabita, are usual in rural, coastal areas, largely because people cannot afford the expense of a formal wedding. They are accepted as legal marriages, even though no ceremony has been performed.

Customs of England

Marriage and Family

Marriage is legal at age 16 but usually takes place when people are in their mid- to late 20s. Fewer people are getting married than in the past and those who do are marrying later. It has become increasingly popular in recent years for couples to live together before or instead of marriage.

English families are small (one or two children are the norm). Women are having fewer children and are waiting longer to have them. In the past three decades, a substantial number of women have begun working outside the home. The divorce rate has risen, as has the number of single-parent families.

Customs of Egypt

Marriage and Family

Traditionally, marriages were arranged between heads of families, often with little input from the couple involved. Now, however, individuals have more say about whom they marry. Because marriages join not just two people but two families, both families are heavily involved in wedding preparations. Housing is expensive and hard to acquire, and engagements may last until the couple has saved enough money for a home.

Customs of Eritrea

Marriage and Family

In Eritrea, nearly all marriages are arranged by families. Among the Tigrinya, parents suggest marriage partners to establish family alliances. The couple involved usually makes the final decision to marry, although some couples in rural areas may not be acquainted before they wed. The bride is often some ten years younger than the groom; in cities she will most likely have completed secondary school before getting married.