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Guadeloupe Customs & Etiquettes

Guadeloupians are known for hospitality, with an emphasis on food, drink, music, and dancing. Casual conversations often are conducted in Creole. People greet each other by kissing or by shaking hands. The style of life favours multiple social contacts, and interaction is filled with conviviality and humour – with bantering and flirtation between the sexes. Traditional values emphasize "reputation" for men and "respect" for women.

Although officially being a part of France, do not to expect the way of life to be very Europeanised. In fact, life in the Caribbean has a much slower pace. Try to fall into the local pace and do not complain about minor annoyances as Guadeloupians will see that as an offence to their way of life.

Gender, along with race and class, operates as an important index of status. Although women frequently are heads of households, they have little power outside the home. Continued male domination is manifested by weak political representation of women and their marginalisation in the workforce. Feminism and women's reproductive rights have only recently gained a foothold with the formation of women's associations.

Family organisation and the domestic unit are strongly influenced by socio-economic status. In many domestic units the woman occupies a central position; the man is marginal or completely absent, and the mother-child bond strong. Unions are unstable, and sexual relations are often polygamous, with a high percentage of children born outside legal marriage. Coexisting with the matrifocal model is the Western model of the stable, nuclear family, frequently unified through marriage. While there is greater control over fertility and a decrease in adolescent mothers, other trends are also occurring: a decrease in marriage, an increase in divorce, a pattern of cohabitation occurring later in the life cycle, and a rise of single-parent families.





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