Frisians - Marriage and Family

Marriage. Weddings were once very elaborate celebrations, and were traditionally performed by a priest. Today, however, civil weddings are as common as church ones. Marriages also used to be finalized when the bride and groom were still quite young—in their middle teens, or shortly after concluding elementary school. Today, however, the average age at marriage is higher, partly reflecting an increased interest in higher education prior to "settling down." Sex prior to Marriage is relatively common, though a certain amount of discretion is expected of the parties involved, and "homing," or living together out of wedlock, has a long tradition despite the disapproval of the church. Divorce is as common in Friesland as in the rest of the Netherlands.

Domestic Unit. Although the "ideal typical" Frisian Family configuration is the nuclear family, single-parent families, independent spinster or bachelor households, and any of the variety of other household arrangements to be found in the Netherlands—and, indeed, European society as a whole—have their counterparts in Friesland.

Inheritance. Heritable property is passed on at the discretion of its owner, although there is a distinct bias that favors a son inheriting from his father.

Socialization. In the face-to-face community of the Frisian village, socialization is not the specific province of any one person or institution. Parents are the primary care givers and socializers of the very young, but once a child is old enough to be out and about in the village, other villagers and the child's own peers contribute much to his or her socialization as well. The school and the church are the two principal socializing institutions outside the family, and the public school provides formal instruction in the Frisian language. The much larger Christian school provides instruction only in Dutch, however. Friesland has no university of its own.

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