Sicilians - Marriage and Family

Marriage. Sicilians consider marriage socially necessary to attain full status as an adult. The most important achievement in the lives of parents is to establish their children in good marriages. Traditionally, people tended to marry within the town, although current patterns of mobility have been altering this situation. People still marry within their social class. Although legal, divorce is infrequent.

Domestic Unit. The ideal domestic unit is the married couple and children living independently as a viable Economic and social unit. It is also common for parents, in remodeling their home, to build separate floors for their married children. In a recent domestic pattern, parents working abroad send their children back to Sicily to live with grandparents so as to maintain the children's cultural identity.

Inheritance. Partible inheritance is traditional. Women have been more likely to receive a larger share of their Inheritance at the time of marriage, as a dowry in the form of a trousseau of embroidered and lace white wear and household goods, or money, and possibly a house. Men usually received land and agricultural implements, and possibly a house, either at marriage or at the death of their parents. As part of their rapidly increasing integration into a market economy, many families now favor education for their children as a form of inheritance.

Socialization. As children mature, they are taught to subject their wishes to the interests of the family. The Catholic church is an important agent of socialization, as is education. Most Sicilians now complete high school. Older generations have lost some of their authority to adolescent peer groups.

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