In Mauritian society, there is a strong emphasis placed on family solidarity. Indeed, Mauritians tend to be family-oriented, and will often put the needs of their family before themselves. Traditionally, it was common for extended families such as aunts, uncles and other relatives to live together. Today, people tend to build houses in proximity to other family members. Hindu and Muslim families are especially likely to live near each other. For example, a young couple may live in an extension of the husband's parents' house until they are financially independent. However, for most families, theunit is the most common household structure. Typically, a couple will have two to three children, though this number may be higher for families in rural or lower-socioeconomic areas.
Respect for family is emphasised early on in childhood. Children are brought up to demonstrate respect for their parents and grandparents. Parents have considerable influence throughout their child's life. For example, important life decisions, particularly marriage, require consultation with one's parents. This respect continues throughout the life cycle, whereby children are expected to take care of their ageing parents. For some families, it is common to send elderly parents into an aged care facility rather than care for their parents themselves.
Due to changes in the economy, particularly through urban industrialisation, women have gained more opportunities for employment and promotions. In the last 40 years, there has been a significant increase in women working outside the home. Traditionally, women were the primary caregivers and homemakers of a family. Nowadays, it is becoming more common for some households to hire people to handle housekeeping and childcare. Men continue to be the head of the household. However, with the increase in living costs and the mobility of women to work outside the home, men are taking on more responsibility in tending to the household.
is the norm in Mauritius. Indeed, one’s is often considered to be more important than socioeconomic class when dating and choosing life partners. Group and parental influences are also important factors in determining one’s choices. Dating or marrying outside of one’s often entails the risk of disapproval from one’s family. Some believe that marrying a member of another will result in marital conflict or divorce. Thus, it is difficult to discern whether marriages are personal preferences or an expected social convention. In inter- marriages, the typical approach is for a family to adopt one identity. Children from these families usually identify with that and will continue the practice of .
Dating and Marriage
Dating and marriage practices primarily depend on the family preferences and religious background of an individual, varying accordingly. In families that adopt a more Western approach, people may begin dating at the age of 16. Couples are introduced by family or friends or may meet in a shared environment such as work or school. Online dating and matchmaking websites have also become popular ways for people to meet potential partners. Typical dates include recreational activities such as going to a cinema, dining at a restaurant or engaging in outdoor activities. Among traditional Hindu and Muslim Mauritian families, Western-style dating is rarely practiced. Rather, marriages will be arranged by the parents, with the consent of the bride and groom.
Once a couple is ready to marry, their families will meet each other and will discuss the union and wedding. Families who follow Hindu traditions tend to celebrate weddings over several days with various activities and feasts. Muslim weddings are characterised by a nikah (wedding ceremony), which tends to be shorter than that of Hindus. Depending on the family, male and female guests will be accommodated in separate areas. For those who follow the Catholic tradition, there will be a ceremony at the local church, followed by a reception.