Monday, May 9, 2011

French views on Marriage, Preganancy, Children

What I am going to talk about below is based on my eight-month's experience and observation in France.

Views about marriage, pregnancy, ideal number of children or importance having child in life, family cohesion etc. are all the important elements that create French family values. French people have a fairly open mentality when it comes to these subject and they do not hesitate to give their opinions about it. (Or any other matter)

In French culture like any other culture; marriage signifies a sacred communion of two souls. It also signifies a new beginning of a long lasting relation between family members. It is an auspicious day for both the couples and the family members. The French law strictly requires couples to get married in the town/city hall first and then carry out other ritual ceremonies at their own interest. Depending on where you live in France, different local traditions and practices might be carried out before a wedding. In Amiens, the bride and the groom are supposed to do something peculiar like dress up odd, give a performance in the street etc. to collect money that they NEED to use for their wedding ceremony and the rest could be used of partying or performing any other wedding related activities. It is very neat. Usually, family members of each other’s family assist them with this ritual. As explained by locals in Amiens, this ritual allows the community to be a part of their wedding. The donation they receive also means the blessing from all the community. In addition, the help they get from family members symbolizes the future support that they would get from their family after wedding.

French society mostly comprises of Christians. Regardless, most of the people have an open view about 'concubinage' and 'pre marital pregnancy' in France. Concubinage is defined as an act of cohabiting of a man and a woman without legal marriage and pre marital pregnancy is having a child before getting legally married. This practice is supported but not encouraged by the French people, especially youths and young adults. However, parents of youths have become more open in the past years regarding such matter. The French law also recognizes it. France is a more family oriented society yet it still values individual decision. Thus, a household with unmarried parents is still considered a form of family, however, it is entirely up to those individuals to decide how they would define role as parents. An ideal family France comprises of about average of two children and the need of a child to complete their married life is felt by both male and female.

French family cohesion can be portrayed by their love for their nation and the French language. Parents at an early age teach their children about their nation and the history about how their country came to be. So children feel obligated to live in France and serve their country. Amiens was a city completely destroyed by the world wars and over the years it was slowly reconstructed by hard efforts put in by their ancestors. Thus it is very common for locals to appreciate foreigners who try to speak their language. It is also very common to see people talk about certain obligations that they need to fulfill towards their family, their nation and fellow citizens. People who live here, love living here and the idea of moving to a different country in search of ‘better’ opportunities rarely exists.

Live close to family, serve our own people, speak our own language, know your roots, enjoy life, exercise balance in daily life is a perfect French philosophy.

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