Acadians - Marriage and Family

Marriage. Acadian society long maintained, both through church and parental influences, a taboo regarding marriage outside the Acadian Catholic community. Pressure to marry within one's own cultural group has now diminished, but Acadians still tend to follow the established practice. Couples now usually marry in their midtwenties, whereas the norm used to be the early twenties, and even younger in the case of females. Although the Catholic church disapproves of divorce, Acadians have followed the national trend toward an increase in the divorce rate. The birthrate, which in the past was very high by Canadian standards, has decreased significantly since the 1960s.

Domestic Unit. The single-family household is the basic domestic unit. Aged parents often live with a son or daughter, although it is becoming a common practice to send elderly parents to nursing homes when their health deteriorates. In the past, young married couples often lived with the groom's parents until they had the means to build their own home.

Inheritance. Early Acadians divided their landholdings among their sons. When the land parcels became too small to sustain a family, the sons moved away to settle on new lands. In the twentieth century, the tendency is for one of the Children to inherit the land, while the rest of the estate is shared among all the children.

Socialization. In rural communities, an unwritten code of behavior exists, and those who transgress it meet with disapproval that may be expressed in different ways. Physical punishment has always been rare, and rejection, either temporary or permanent, from local society is the most common form of punishment.

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