1. Dating and Marriage
Customs from around the world
Monticello Middle School
Information taken from CultureGrams Database World Edition
Dating usually begins about age 13. A date is similar to the US,
couples enjoy going to movies, dancing, eating in restaurants,
or meeting at sporting events.
Some couples will live together before getting married. The
average age for marriage is 30+. Weddings are usually
celebrated with family and friends, but highly elaborate events
are somewhat uncommon. Couples will wait a few years
before having children.
A girl’s 15th birthday, called her quince anos, is a party that historically
meant she was of marriageable age. Now days the party still happens, but it
doesn’t carry the marriage significance it once did.
Dating couples will often meet at their date destination instead meeting at
the girl’s house. In small towns girls need to be home before dark, so young
men will visit with a girl at her house instead of being out at night. Most
young people live with their parents until they get married.
When people get married, they often have two ceremonies. The first being
the civil ceremony which is the legal ceremony and then a ceremony in the
church. They have a tradition that when the marriage prayer is said, a rope
is put around the couple that shows they are tied together.
Quince Anos photos!
Group dating begins around age 14. As relationships begin to build and
grow, couples will break away from the group for dating on their own. It is
expected that a young man will get permission from the girl’s father to
marry her. Engagements may last two or three years. It used to be that
Brazilians married young, but now they will wait until they are in their 30s.
Just as in Mexico, they will have two ceremonies.
Some wedding traditions are that the bride must arrive 10 minutes late to
the wedding. The groom must tame an untamed donkey before he is
thought to be a responsible husband. Groomsmen will carry or wear the
Brazilian flag instead of wearing flowers.
Teens start dating around age 15. Usually they are in small groups
going to dances or to the movies. People will get married in a
church. They are usually in their 20s. There is a growing trend to live
together instead of getting married. This arrangement is referred to
as a de facto marriage. Older children living at home are expected
to contribute toward family expenses.
In Japan teens start to date about age 15, but do not get married
until about age 26. Couples enjoy dancing, going to movies,
shopping, and eating out.
Weddings can be elaborate and expensive. Marriage ceremonies
usually take place in hotels or wedding halls. The couple may
wear the traditional kimono for the ceremony, Western
wedding outfits for photographs and socializing, and different
clothing for an evening party. Guests bring gifts, often cash, and
leave with gifts from the couple. Arranged marriages still occur.
Dating starts at about age 20. A men can’t marry they are 22 years old, while
a woman can marry at age 20. People like to go to parks, dances or parties.
Couples will rarely kiss in public. This kind of display is frowned upon.
Living together is not common, and the parents would never be informed.
Family is very important, so marriage is highly valued. If a person is not
deemed “good enough“ because of their bank account, then the marriage
won’t take place.
In order to marry a couple must ask permission from the government. The
couple signs a legal contract that the government keeps on file. But the
couple isn’t married until they celebrate with their family and friends.
A bride will wear red and keep her maiden name. Red represents happiness
and good luck. Sometimes a bride will wear a red dress to the ceremony and
change into a white gown for the banquet. Weddings in rural areas last for
two days. Weddings in urban areas will combine traditional and western
The groom’s family will pay for the wedding, while the bride’s family will buy
the household appliances. The bride’s mother will make a quilt for the
couple. If the couple has children they will take their father’s last name.
Dating is gaining popularity in India but marriages are still
arranged. A dowry is still offered to the groom even though it
is illegal. Marriage is for life, meaning you are married until you
Weddings are elaborate and expensive. It is customary to wear
bright clothing and jewelry to your wedding. Flowers are also
big part of the celebration. The bride and groom will exchange
garlands and words before they circle around a fire 3-7 times to
complete the marriage ceremony. Following the ceremony is a
There is no such thing as dating in Afghanistan. Young people are
segregated at the age of 12. Marriages are arranged by a prominent female
in the family. Cousins will often marry to keep family ties strong.
Matchmakers have long negotiations about the bride price, what the groom’s family
pays to the bride’s family, and dowry, money the bride brings to the marriage.
Wedding ceremonies can last for 3 days with festivities happening at both the bride
and groom’s family homes. Most of the ceremony has the men and women
segregated. They all come together for the signing of the marriage contract and
reciting of the Qur'an. A man can have up to 4 wives. All a man has to do to divorce
his wife is announce it 3 times in public.
Young Ukrainians meet at discos and concerts, in school and at work,
and through friends. From April to October they spend a lot of time in
parks, engaging in a variety of outdoor activities. When dating, they
usually visit friends, go to bars or movies, or dance at discos. Couples
usually marry in their early twenties. A marriage is legal only if
performed in a city hall or in a “wedding palace.” Most couples today
also have a religious ceremony.
Urban wedding parties are fancy but do not involve much tradition.
On the other hand, rural weddings are big events that usually last for
three days. Such weddings resemble a combination of a grand party
and a performance since many people are responsible for completing
traditional acts. For example, at some point the bride must be
“stolen.” The successful thieves “demand” a ransom for her return.
As in other Western countries, Italians date either in groups or as
couples. Dancing and going to movies are frequent activities. Women
usually marry by age 26, while the average age for men is 29. A man
will rarely marry before he has finished his education and found
employment. Therefore, engagements can last several years. Some
couples live together before marrying. Marriage ceremonies most often
follow Catholic traditions. Divorce is granted only after three or more
years of legal separation. Nevertheless, the divorce rate is growing and
the marriage rate is slowing as more couples live together instead of
marrying (especially in northern Italy). Even in the more traditional
South, single parents are becoming more accepted.
12. Costa Rica
Group dating starts in the early teens. They will attend movies, dances,
picnics, bullfights and the carnival (Mardi Gras). Dating rarely takes place.
Girls have more dating restrictions than boys. When a couple is dating a
schedule is set up for the couple for sitting on the porch or walking around
the neighborhood, usually for two hours a couple nights a week.
Marriage is highly valued in Costa Rica, their marriage rate is one of the
highest for Latin America. Women will marry in their early twenties and
men will wait a little longer. Unmarried adults will live with their parents
until they marry, unless they are going to the University. When a couple
gets engaged, their families will visit each other to show a formal agreement
among the families.
Dating only happens with couples that are considering marriage. Arranged
marriages still happen, but young people have the option to reject a match.
Public displays of affection are frowned upon even between married
Once a couple becomes engaged they can talk on the telephone or visit
while accompanied by family. A woman must be a virgin as stated in the
marriage contract. Her family will protect a her reputation. A girl’s
reputation can be ruined just by holding hands with a man or staying out
too late at night.
A Muslim engagement begins with the Arayet al-Fatah, in which verses of
the Qur'an are read and the couple declares that they intend to marry.
After the ceremony, couples are allowed more freedom to communicate,
so couples commonly use the time between the Arayet al-Fatah and the
actual wedding to get to know one another. This engagement can last for
several years. It is common for engagements to be called off. The marriage
ceremony (katb ketab) takes place in the bride's home or at a mosque and
is performed by a sheikh (priest). After the ceremony, there is a reception
with dancing. In more religious circles, men and women may celebrate
Marriages are arranged with people of similar social status. The couple can
reject the proposed arrangement, but that rarely happens. Many young
people marry someone from their school or neighborhood. Dating is
expected to lead to marriage. It isn’t something for fun.
The actual engagement is very formal. The man's family asks for the
woman's hand at her parents' home. The two families choose spokesmen
well versed in kabary, who present the genealogy and history of the families
and praise the bride and her family. After a formal speech of consent is
delivered, the bride's family receives a vodiondry (literally, “lamb's rump”
but meaning bride-price). A lamb is slaughtered for the occasion and a
number of live zebus are given as a dowry. In highland areas, cash takes the
place of zebu and lamb.
After the bride is given by her father to the groom, the couple must listen to
advice by both sets of parents. Finally, the oldest family members give the
couple their blessings. The bride's family pays for the engagement party
and the groom's family pays for the wedding. There must be a civil wedding
first . Religious weddings, usually on Saturdays, are followed by a feast and
Arranged marriages are common. Dating does not happen until a couple is
engaged or a marriage contract has been signed. Men marry about age 30
and women marry in their late twenties.
At the wedding festivities, men and women celebrate separately. The
groom must give a gift to the bride’s family. The groom and the men in his
wedding party perform a traditional line dance in their finest suits. At the
bride's party, she dances as her guests sing and dance around her. To mark
end of the celebration, the bride is seated on a chair on top of a platform.
The female members of both families adorn her with gold jewelry. The
women put on their veils and conservative clothing before the groom and
other men present the bride with gold. Then the new couple dance
together with all of their guests. Later, the bride puts on a white cape and
leaves with her husband. Family members follow them in their cars until
they reach the hotel where they will stay for the night.
Germany does not have a word for dating. Instead young people socialize. They
will hang out in clubs, restaurants, and pubs. If someone wants to date another
person they will suggest a Verabredung (appointment). They will pay for their own
things unless someone offers to pay. On-line dating services are becoming popular.
A young man will still ask the girl’s father for his approval of the marriage. The
family of the bride will pay for the wedding. Engagements can last up to two
years. Engaged couples wait until their late twenties when their finances have
become stable. It is becoming more common for young people to live together
instead of marrying. The government offers tax advantages to couples who are
legally married. Legal marriages are performed at the city hall. The religious
ceremonies are optional.
17. United Kingdom
Group dating starts during the teenage years. Once a person is in college, dating
becomes more serious. Internet dating has become popular in the past few years.
Meeting the family means that the relationship is serious. Most couples will live
together before getting married . Many couples will simply live together instead of
marrying. Weddings are lavish affairs. The tradition is to have the bride’s family pay
for the wedding, but now days both families help pay. A couple can be married in the
church and it is legal. After the ceremony, the couple will go into a room to sign the
church registry. They need two witnesses and a registrar to make it legal. The bride
will wear a long white dress, and the groom will wear a morning suit, which is a
tuxedo with a top hat..