Cypriots - Marriage and Family

Marriage. The family is the fundamental social unit of Greek Cypriot society, and its importance is reflected in the practice of arranged marriages. Engagements of two to eight years are common, and marriages must be celebrated in the church. The Greek Cypriot bride brings a dowry, which constitutes her portion of the familial inheritance; among Turkish Cypriote, the dowry does not occur. In the countryside, there is a strong tendency toward village endogamy. The church prohibits marriage between second cousins or more closely related blood kin, and tradition prohibits marriage Between individuals sharing in a koumbari relationship, as mentioned earlier. Divorce is neither socially nor religiously countenanced.

Domestic Unit. The household is usually composed of a single nuclear family, although it can include the parents of either husband or wife as well, and sometimes it also includes newly married offspring of the core hueband-wife pair, Depending on a number of circumstances, mostly economic. The household is patriarchal—that is, ite oldest male Member has the strongest voice in the ordering of familial affairs. There is a strong emphasis on family honor, and each Individual member is held to represent that honor. Women of the household are thought to embody the most important potential threat to that honor—particularly in the possibility that they may comport themselves immodestly. Consequently, the males of the household act as the public family spokesmen and work and live in the more public sphere, while the women are expected to confine themselves as far as possible to the domestic sphere.

Inheritance. The estate of an individual is shared equally by all his or her offspring. However, daughters receive their portion in the form of a dowry, and land tends to pass to sons.

Socialization. Child rearing during the early years of life is the province of the mother and other female members of the household old enough to lend a hand. The family is the focus of all social values, the most important being the principles of (family) loyalty, honor, and shame. This emphasis on familial honor is shared by Turkish Cypriots, who aleo highly value principles of discipline, religiosity, propriety, and hospitality. A child's formal education begins at age 5, when he or she begins six years of compulsory elementary education. The educational systems of the Turkish and Greek sectors are segregated and separately administered. Secondary education extends to vocational and technical training, much of which is offered free, but there is no university on Cyprus. Students wishing to pursue education at the university level go abroad, most commonly to Greece, Turkey, Britain, or the United States.

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