Greece The Family
Sources: The Library of Congress Country Studies; CIA World Factbook
The family is the basic social unit of all strata of Greek society, whether rural or urban. For an individual not to marry or to remain separate from his or her family is viewed as unusual behavior. Sons and daughters still live with their families until they marry, bypassing the Western tradition of living independently between those two stages of life. Families play a large role in selection of a mate, although the traditional arranged marriage is now less frequent than in previous generations. In rural areas, tradition calls for courtship to be a time when society examines a young woman's conduct to evaluate her character. A potential groom and his family still consider a woman's reputation, health, age, and appearance, although the elements of reputation have changed since the 1960s. Until the late 1960s, modesty and innocence, the chief ingredients of a young woman's honor, were demonstrated by her dress as well as her behavior. By 1970, however, young women commonly dressed in fashionable West European styles, and chaperones were no longer required.
The basic household, or nuclear family, includes a husband, wife, and their unmarried children. This unit may also include a parent or another family relative, and in some regions a young married couple may live with the parents of one spouse until they can gain financial independence. In village tradition, the groom takes his bride to live at least for a short time with his parents; they may remain in that house or one in the same village, creating an extended family. In the Cyclades Islands and the Dodecanese Islands, the wife's parents and village are the traditional destination of the newlyweds. The same pattern has been adapted to city life, where the wife's parents may provide housing for in-laws from several areas of Greece.
The primary purpose of marriage is thought to be to produce children, without whom the couple would not be happy. The second goal is preservation and augmentation of the family property from the previous generation. In rural areas, the nuclear family is a source of agricultural labor. Other forms of family enterprise, such as fishing and small businesses, receive similar benefits from offspring.
Data as of December 1994
NOTE: The information regarding Greece on this page is re-published from The Library of Congress Country Studies and the CIA World Factbook. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Greece The Family information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Greece The Family should be addressed to the Library of Congress and the CIA.