Cretans - Marriage and Family



Marriage. Marriage is monogamous, and divorce is strongly disapproved. In the villages, couples sleep together from the time of engagement, and they may await pregnancy before proceeding to the church ceremony. There is a strong preference for village and large-lineage endogamy, but this preference must be set against strict incest rules that formerly precluded marriage between third cousins (although the church's restriction extended only to second cousins). In the villages of western and central Crete, residence is in a house provided by the groom's father and furnished by the bride's family; in eastern Crete and in virtually all urban areas, Residence is uxorilocal. Couples usually assume independent Residence at marriage. Abduction and elopement remain common, especially in the rural areas.

Domestic Unit. The nuclear family is almost universally the residence unit throughout Crete.

Inheritance. Flock animals are mostly passed from father to sons. Land is divided equally among all children of both sexes, although daughters may receive an additional amount as dowry. Division of the parental property is often done by lot, usually at the death of the parent in question, except for dowry lands for daughters (who receive them at marriage). In the towns, the legal requirements of equal partible Inheritance may render small properties practically worthless, Especially when many of the coheirs have emigrated, and agreements to sell in order to divide the income are common in such cases. The youngest son often receives the parental house in the mountain villages of central and western Crete.

Socialization. Children are raised in the mountain villages to be aggressive and teasing and to defend their personal integrity against all comers. Sexual segregation is encouraged rather than enforced in the earliest school-going years. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, and family friends provide a demonstratively affectionate counterpoint to occasional displays of paternal strictness. Mild corporal punishment is Common, but unfulfilled threats are far more frequent.


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