Attainment of Adulthood

While young men's military service is an important part of the phase between adolescence and adulthood, for both women and men the first phase in the passage to adulthood is their 18th birthday, as that is the age of legal adulthood in Hungary. The most important social marker of adulthood is the eljegyzes, engagement. The engagement process in Hungary generally begins with a verbal proposal by the man and the woman's acceptance. Following this proposal, the couple shops together for their wedding rings. These are first exchanged at the eljegyzes, which is usually a lunch attended by the couple, their parents, and sometimes their godparents.

At this event, the man formally asks the woman to marry him and seeks the approval of her parents. At this point, both the man and woman wear their wedding ring on their left hand, to indicate that they are engaged. At the wedding, they will exchange these same rings and switch them to their right hands. The woman may also receive an accompanying ring, another piece of jewelry such as a necklace or bracelet, or nothing at all.

After the engagement and wedding, the next most important marker of adulthood is having a child. In a recent Hungarian survey, which has been echoed in the works of many Hungarian sociologists, researchers discovered that 80% of Hungarians believe that not having a child leaves one incomplete (Wolf, 2000). While women more than men think that raising children is their most important function, Hungarians of both genders feel the significant social stigma of not having at least one child (Toth, 1999b). Indeed, the word for family (csalad) is often used to refer to children, so that a married couple generally do not acquire family status until the birth of their first child.

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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