July 29, 2013
Dating and Courtship Patterns
Dating and courtship have changed much throughout the last few generations. In today’s society, people are less likely to marry and start families at a younger age as they did in the time of our grandparents. Many factors play a role in the decision to start a family for each individual however in past generations this was not always the case. I had the opportunity to interview my grandmother who is now seven four years old and an immigrant from Kosovo. She has lived in this country for many years however her childhood and years of dating and courtship with her husband, my grandfather were had in Kosovo. In order to better understand the courtship or lack thereof my grandmother experienced in her day, it is important to understand how her ethnicity, family and background played a major role in the choices that shaped her life.
Kosovo is a small, newly created country with a culture that is rooted in its people, the Albanians. The ethnicity of the people of Kosovo is Albanian and the religion that dominates the region is Islam. In my grandparent’s generation, it was not uncommon for arranged marriages to take place. As per my grandmother, her childhood was unlike mine or children living in the United States today. Coming from a country with rigid customs that were particularly stricter on females, it was not customary to date men before settling down into marriage. After completing the eighth grade, my grandmother worked for her father on his farm. At the age of seventeen my grandmother was told by her father that a young man from a good family had come to ask for her hand in marriage. There had been very little say it the matter otherwise, the option was not for my grandmother to make unless she had an objection for a particular reason which was not expected nor voiced and therefore her ability to date and experience courtship was taken from her.
The years of courtship and dating that are very much a social norm of today were non-existent as they applied to my grandmother. Her lifelong relationship was initiated via her father and there was very little she could control about it. This is quite different from today’s society where most people of different cultures have the ability to choose who their lifelong spouse will be. While this practice was common in Kosovo during this time, it was more prominent in families that came from villages. This was due to the fact the young girls who lived outside the city did not continue their education past high school and expected to marry young and start their own family. While young women like my grandmother had few options, males were not as rushed into marriage however they too did not experience the traditional way of courtship and dating we have today. In today’s day and age, we live in a radically