Family Life

Family life is an important aspect of Guyanese culture. Guyanese consider family to mean an extended family of parents, children, grandchildren, uncles, aunts and cousins. Smaller families and single-parent families, often with a female head of household, also exist in Guyana.

Usually, adult children do not move out of their parents' home until they can afford to buy a new home. This means that even when they marry, some continue to live with their parents. In rural areas, many houses, which start as small buildings, become large ones after several extensions have been added to accommodate newly married family members. When adult children move to a new house, it is usually close to their parents' home.

Some extended family members play an important role in the upbringing of children. Disputes within the extended family are often settled when concerned family members lobby relatives with influence to speak to the errant ones.

It is customary for whole families to drop in unexpectedly to visit relatives. The visitors are always welcomed and are invariably offered food and drink. Discussions at these gatherings cover everything from politics to family problems to gossip.

Did you know?

Guyana has the most unusual racial mix in South America. It is woven into every aspect of life in Guyana. For example, there are places with Dutch and Spanish names. Hindu temples and mosque domes can be seen, and you can hear calypso music, which is a blend of African rhythm and Spanish and native melodies.

A favourite family pastime is going to the movies. East Indian movies are popular among the East Indians. Young people enjoy westerns and action movies, like many young people in any country.

Families often picnic in scenic places such as the banks of one of Guyana's many rivers. The family outing includes a "cook up" and bathing in the river. The outing may include several families related by blood or marriage as well as friends and neighbours.